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The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist


Should School Personnel Be Armed?

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The History Behind Valentine’s Day

A look into the history behind this love-filled holiday

  Valentine’s Day occurs every Feb. 14 across the United States. Usually, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones. However, many question how this popular holiday was started and what the history is behind it.

  February has long been celebrated as a month of romance. According to, the holiday is a Christian and ancient Roman tradition that goes way back to the 8th century. There are two different legends of Valentine’s Day that people believe in. The Catholic Church maintains that there are three saints named Valentine or Valentinus who were martyred. Valentine, who served as a priest during the third century in Rome, is one of them. Claudius Gothicus, also known as Claudius ll, was the Roman emperor from 268 A.D. to 270 A.D. He decreed that single men made better soldiers than men that had wives and families at home, leading him to outlaw marriage for young men. Valentine opposed Claudius’ decree and continued to secretly marry young couples. Soon, Valentine’s actions were discovered, and on Feb. 14, 270 A.D., Claudius ordered that he be put to death and Valentine was beheaded outside of Rome. 

  According to, other stories say that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape Roman prisons. The Roman prisons often beat and tortured Christians. According to another story, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” after he fell in love with a young girl. 

  Valentine’s Day has another famous part to it as well. Cupid. Cupid is the naked cherub launching arrows often on Valentine’s cards and treats. According to, Cupid comes from Greek mythology, and some say he is either the son of Nyx or Erebus. Cupid uses golden arrows to incite love. During the Hellenistic period, he was portrayed as the mischievous, chubby child on Valentine’s Day cards. 

  Valentine’s Day gained popularity in the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers to exchange handwritten notes to express their love. By the 19th century, printed cards began to replace handwritten letters due to improvements in printing technology, evolving Valentine’s Day through innovation.

  Today, many around the world celebrate the holiday by giving gifts to symbolize their love for another. Such as giving cards, purchasing the other’s favorite food and buying their loved ones’ favorite flowers. Another popular way is taking their partner to an expensive restaurant. Some restaurants require reservations months in advance as Valentine’s is one of the most popular holidays for reservations. 

  Through history, Valentine’s day has successfully brought loved ones together through gifts, special time and love. Through this times, loved ones are able to spend their valuable time together and show affection like no other holiday, making Valentine’s Day the most love-filled holiday of them all.

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About the Contributor
Riley Makowski
Riley Makowski, Graphic Designer, Photographer
Riley Makowski is a sophomore in her first year of newspaper. She decided to take this class because she wanted to try something new. Riley is currently a reporter, working on fun stories for the school to read in the school newspaper and website. Outside of school, she loves hanging out with her friends, family, and her pets.

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