Valentine’s Day discovered

A look behind the hearts and the candy

Valentine’s Day cards get stocked up at Wal-Mart, ready for young lovers to buy. There are cards for spouses, mothers, fathers, siblings, and more.


Valentine’s Day cards get stocked up at Wal-Mart, ready for young lovers to buy. There are cards for spouses, mothers, fathers, siblings, and more.

Ellen Batty, Staff Reporter

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner; It’s a day to celebrate with friends, family, and other loved ones.

According to, the history of Valentine’s Day began in the year 496 thought to have originated from a Roman festival. The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February, which officially started their springtime. However, some believe the holiday originated from the legend of St. Valentine or St. Valentines since the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints by the name of Valentine or Valentinus. “One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Still, others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome,” states.

This has led a lot of people to believe the idea of Valentine’s Day is centered around love. However, this idea wasn’t official until the middle ages.  In contrast, others believe Valentine may have been killed trying to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were getting beaten and tortured. 

According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed ‘From your Valentine’,” said. 

Some historians believe this is what caused the tradition of sending out Valentines. Despite all this, the true story behind St. Valentine, or Valentines, is unclear and emphasizes him as sympathetic and heroic. Thanks to this, his reputation would lead him to be one of the most popular saints in France. Cupid is also associated with Valentine’s Day. He is often portrayed as a cherub usually wearing little clothes that launches arrows at unexpecting lovers. Cupid’s roots, nevertheless, come from Greek mythology as the Greek god of love, Eros. According to mythology, Eros was a good-looking god that played with the emotions of immortals and mortals alike. He used golden arrows to lure people into sow aversion. It wasn’t until the Hellenistic period his known appearance was changed to a mischievous child, currently seen on Valentine’s cards today, according to

Chocolate has also played a huge factor during Valentine’s Day for young lovers and businesses, according to Although chocolate inboxes is nothing new, back in 1861, Cadbury had the genius idea to put rosebuds and cupid designs on the cover of heart-shaped boxes. This became popular since chocolate was “well-liked among the ladies” as proclaimed by the public, and people could use the nicely decorated boxes to hold love letters and other romantic gifts even after the chocolate has been eaten. Thus, the commercialization of Valentine’s Day flourished in America.

Since then, companies have taken advantage of the holiday by changing the wrapping and coloring of their chocolates and candy in order to sell more. For example, M&M’s mass produces their yearly red and pink chocolates, which has become the top-selling candy in America. Other companies such as Skittles, Dove, Lindt, and Sour Patch Kids, have also altered their packaging and candy in order to appeal to the holiday. 

In a recent RAMPAGE poll, students of GCHS voted the best Valentine’s Day candy was Sweethearts, famous for their printed messages on sugary, heart-shaped candies. These were invented by Oliver R. Chase back in 1847 by cutting lozenges from wafer candy, however, the little messages weren’t printed on until 1866, thanks to Daniel Chase, Oliver’s brother, according to

Flowers are common gifts as well for Valentine’s Day according to the RAMPAGE survey. The tradition dates back to the 17th century during the reign of King Charles II of Sweden. It is said, during a trip to Persia, King Charles II was exposed to a new art: the language of flowers. People had associated the different species and colors with different meanings, so people were able to communicate without saying a word, in such a beautiful manner. Originally, giving someone a yellow carnation meant they had disappointed you, giving someone a purple hyacinth meant you were sorry and asking for forgiveness, and giving someone a red rose meant deep and pure love. The rose has kept its meaning even today, being the highest-selling flower during Valentine’s Day. Even the students of GCHS have voted roses to be the best flower for the holiday. Although, other flowers such as orchids, tulips, and daisies have also been used as an expression of love.

Despite this, one may ask the questions, “Why do we even give gifts on Valentine’s Day? Why are gifts used as a declaration of love?” During the holiday, many people like to show their appreciation through stuffed animals, cards, jewelry, and other nice things. People see these gifts as small gestures of love. It has always been natural for lovers to exchange gifts, especially on a holiday associated with love. No one exactly knows why or how one might have the impulse to give their lover a gift, but many suggest it is just human nature. 

Although Valentine’s Day is usually about romance, it doesn’t always have to be. Some people see it as a day to just be with friends, and not necessarily be romantic.  When asked how she’s going to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Penelope Britton, a student at GCHS said, “I’m just gonna probably hang out with my family.” Meaning sometimes Valentine’s Day is just appreciation more than love. Some people see Valentine’s Day as a way for companies to sell more products and get a better profit from young lovers. Billie Guidry, another GCHS student said, “I mean, it could be romantic but also like it’s just saying, big, just a holiday, where companies can sell their…chocolates and stuff. And I think that’s really all it exists for but it could be nice.”

The true meaning of Valentine’s Day cannot be described by history or by science, that is up to one to decide. Many see it as a time for love, while others see it as more of a day for appreciation. However, some people see the holiday as just another excuse to spend money. 

Ryan Kufner, a freshman at GCHS said, “Many people like Valentine’s Day because of all the candy and chocolate and stuff but honestly, I think it [Valentine’s Day] should be about loved ones and spending time with them.”