Many theories explain how Valentine’s Day began and how it became the romantic holiday Americans celebrate today.
According to experts, the holiday originated from Saint Valentine, who lived during the Middle Ages when an emperor named Claudius ruled Rome.
Researchers are still not sure if there was more than one saint at the time. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentino.
Some experts claim that a Roman priest who was martyred for refusing to perform marriage ceremonies was the original Saint Valentine.
At the time, the emperor passed laws that forbade all men from being married as a way to fight in wars. Saint Valentine went to jail and was put to death on Feb. 14, 269 A.D.
Experts also say Saint Valentine left a good-bye letter from the jail manager’s daughter, who became his close friend, and he signed it “From your Valentine.”
The holiday we call Saint Valentine’s Day was named after this priest, and the letter he wrote started the tradition of exchanging love messages to people on Feb. 14.
Melissa Aitchison, a freshman communications major, said Valentine’s Day is about love and friendship. She celebrates the day with friends.
“My friends and I send each other a Valentine’s Day card saying, ‘Be My Valentine,’ or we give out carnations,” she said.
Another student said Valentine’s Day represents couples in love.
“I think it’s a cool holiday for couples,” said Edward Avergun, senior management major. “Roses, dinner and a cute card, that’s my idea of Valentine’s Day.”
Not everyone can or wants to take part in the traditions of this love affair.
“If you are not in a relationship then you are not a part of it, and it is not as important,” said Liza Gentile, a freshman communications major.
Scott Owens, a graduate student in the e-media program, said Valentine’s Day has become an obligation rather than a privilege.
“You are expected to do something special for someone on that day,” said Owens. “I don’t really think you should have to.”
On the other hand, a few students said Valentine’s Day has turned into the Hallmark holiday of America.
“It’s a fabrication of the corporate world,” said Eric Hahn, business management major. “It’s a holiday to make money.”
Owens said people forget the saint behind Saint Valentine’s Day because of what the holiday has become: a commercial holiday.
“Valentine’s Day is what you make of it,” said Larry Lao, a senior communications major. “If you’re not into the main stream thing, take the day off.”