By Andrew Kunkel, contributing writer
With the biggest celebration of love all year, Valentine’s Day, upon us, different people have different ideas of what makes the best date.
“The best Valentine’s Day I ever had was when my boyfriend bought us concert tickets,” said Oswego Alumni Heather Harter. “We saw my favorite band, and there’s nothing like dancing to your favorite band with the love of your life.”
“For me, it would have to be something fun,” said SUNY Oswego student Casey Taylor. “A day of skiing followed by a nice dinner in the ski lodge. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be any huge deal, just being with your special someone is what’s important.”
Others view the holiday with a different outlook.
“I don’t want anything special for Valentine’s Day,” said Madison Schlaugies, “It’s just one day of the year. So, I don’t consider it any different than any other day.”
“I don’t believe in ‘Hallmark’ holidays,” added Matt Cristo, referring to the glut of greeting cards and candies sold at this time.
“I think that Valentine’s Day is a way for card companies, flower makers and other businesses to make a ton of money off people,” agreed Rosie Maxwell.
Approximately one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year. In order of popularity, Valentine’s Day cards are given to: teachers, children, mothers, wives and sweethearts.
However, some people try to be as romantic as they can for their sweetheart.
“I’m planning on buying her a tub of her favorite ice cream and then taking her to watch the sunset,” said Christopher Geluso.
The History of Valentine’s Day
The origins of Valentine’s Day trace back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. Held on February 15, Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
In addition to a bountiful feast, Lupercalia festivities are purported to have included the pairing of young women and men. Men would draw women’s names from a box, and each couple would be paired until next year’s celebration.
While this pairing of couples set the tone for today’s holiday, it wasn’t called “Valentine’s Day” until a priest named Valentine came along.
Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II’s decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged.
Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14.
After Valentine’s death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine’s Day to honor Saint Valentine.