Why Do We Celebrate Valentines Day

It’s all about the saints.


Jai'lyn Garmon, Journalist

“I love being married. It’s so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” —Rita Rudner This is the meaning of Valentine’s Day in America, we think of Valentine’s Day as a day when we celebrate love, and exchange gifts with our significant other. Valentine’s day is about love, red, hearts, and celebrating one another, but does everyone know the true meaning of what happened and how this holiday came about?

Valentine’s day is named after a saint from the ancient Roman Times, named St. Valentine. The story is told in many different ways on how this day came about, either way, St. Valentine was honored for his bravery and fight for love. During ancient Roman times, according to History.com, Emperor Claudius II was the leader of the Catholic church and recognized at least three Valentines or Valentinus who were all martyred. Meaning, someone willing to face death than defy Jesus Christ. Emperor Claudius II, being one of the most powerful men in the world, learned that with power comes competition, and with that comes to war. He believed that single male soldiers fought better than married men, so he decided that he would outlaw the marriage of single men in his army. 

Valentine saw this as “injustice” and since Valentine was a priest, had the power to marry people. Valentine defied Claudius and married young couples in secret. Valentine thought his actions were right and continued to defy the Emperor, but like all good things, this eventually came to an end. Valentine’s actions were discovered and Claudius ordered that he be put straight to death. Which Valentine was executed is debated though, since there were many priests by the name of Valentine. Many believe that it was Valentine of Terni. A different bishop who was a strong believer in the holiday in honor of Valentine was also beheaded by Claudius outside of Rome. 

There are many stories on how Valentine’s Day truly came about, but as Americans, we celebrate this day of love with flowers, candy, and date nights. This is the day where we celebrate love and show our appreciation to our partners. Although this is a day of love, many hate the holiday because they don’t have a partner to share it with. On the other hand, Valentine’s Day can be what you make of it. You don’t need someone to celebrate this holiday. St. Valentine fought for the freedom of love, not for love itself. This holiday was named after a man who fought for the rights of love for all. And although we don’t personally see the holiday as a celebration of him, we celebrate what he stood for. I think he would be proud of us. 

All in all, Valentine’s Day is a day of love, so next time you buy flowers for your significant other, whether it be your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, etc., be thankful to St. Valentine because, without him, there would be no holiday.