Celebrating Valentine’s Day 2016

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day 2016

Miranda Cecil, Staff Writer

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School hallways and department stores are transformed into a sea of reds and pinks. The scent of chocolate fills the air. The chill of a winter morning signifies weather just right for giant teddy bears.

It’s almost February 14. Students and teachers alike have begun preparations for this year’s Valentine’s Day.

“I’m going out to eat with my girlfriend,” senior Cole Peterson said.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday to celebrate the Catholic St. Valentine.

When Emperor Claudius II decided single men were more necessary as soldiers than as husbands, he stopped allowing young men to marry. It is believed that Valentine performed marriages for young lovers secretly.

It is also believed that he may, for a time, have been imprisoned and fallen in love with the jailer’s daughter. The saint wrote the first valentine to the jailer’s daughter, signing a card “From your Valentine”.

We continue to exchange valentines with loved ones and classmates today.

“I plan on giving my friends valentines,” senior Kyle Campbell said.

Americans first began exchanging valentines in the 1700s. Esther A. Howland sold the first mass produced valentines in the 1860s.

Danish culture provides a variation on the theme of valentines, as men write women Gaekkebrev. Gaekkebrev are poems or love notes given from a “secret admirer” with only the number of letters in the man’s name as a hint as to his identity.

In the United States, it is common for parents to give some sort of gift to their children in honor of the holiday.

“I usually try to buy my kids those specialty items that contain chocolates, like Star Wars or Frozen characters,” English teacher Andrea Julian said.

In England, this tradition is extended to include Jack Valentine, a sort of Santa Claus for Valentine’s Day, who leaves gifts for children.

“If I had a girlfriend, I’d take her out to a nice lunch, buy her a box of chocolates and maybe some flowers,” sophomore Justin Owens said

In Japan, chocolates are used to signify one’s feelings; different chocolates hold different meanings. Japanese culture invites men to be the center of Valentine’s Day celebrations, so women give chocolates to men.

“I think my boyfriend and I are just going to hang out and maybe watching some Star Wars, because he loves Star Wars,” junior Savannah Newton said.

As history goes on, each generation and culture seems to have added a unique twist to St. Valentine’s legend. Whatever the way in which it is celebrated, the common thread remains that the day is a celebration of love for others, whether romantic or platonic. Happy Valentine’s Day Northwest!

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