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Students celebrate Valentine’s Day

Amanda Gonzales | Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cupid, flower shops and young Notre Dame couples in love may feel warmth in their hearts today – despite the snow outside – thanks to Valentine’s Day.

Employees at Irish Gardens, a student-run florist, are inundated with requests and said February is one of the shop’s most lucrative months.

Junior employee Laura Steinbrenner said customers continued to request the traditional dozen red roses more than any other arrangement in the Irish Gardens selection.

Steinbrenner said students could have cut back their Valentine Day’s errands by ordering last Friday to receive free personal delivery.

Despite these attractive promotions, Irish Gardens faced competition from Pasquerilla West Hall residents and their popular $1 carnation sale.

Florists, however, will not be the only businesses to bring in profits today.

Local restaurants – including LaSalle Grill and Tippecanoe Place – have been busy taking reservations for tonight, in some cases three months in advance.

Tippecanoe employee Katie Gillis said she expects nearly 500 couples to eat at the restaurant tonight, and every woman will be greeted at the door with a long-stemmed red rose.

At LaSalle Grill, which was completely booked for tonight more than a month ago, a special “Tastes of Love” Valentine’s Day menu will be prepared for the evening.

Another restaurant, Studebagels, capitalized on the holiday by making heart-shaped bagels.

Freshman Michelle Ripple may visit one of these restaurants tonight, but as she ventures into a classic Valentine’s Day romance ritual – the blind date – she doesn’t know her exact plans for the evening.

“I arrived at my dorm to find a rose and an invitation to a private dinner with about five other couples, and those are all the details I know,” she said with a smile.

Ripple, however, was not the only one counting the hours before Valentine’s Day.

The staff at LeMans Hall set up multiple table in the front lobby anticipating the arrival of many bouquets and floral arrangements for its residents, something that surprised sophomore Maggie McSorley.

At Notre Dame, the Ballroom Dance Club will mark the occasion with a Valentine’s Day dance tonight, but the group’s excitement may not be shared by the entire community.

More than 400 anti-Valentine’s Day Facebook groups are available to cynics and lonely hearts, including the “Anti-Valentine’s Day,” “Boycott Valentine’s Day” and “Valentine’s Day Should Be Abolished” groups.

Sophomore Ashleigh Cross joined the ranks of the dissenters.

“Valentine’s Day is too commercialized and exclusive and if you don’t have a certain someone to spend it with,” she said. “It’s not that fun.”

It may not be a cause for celebration for Cross, but others may appreciate the historical significance of Valentine’s Day.

The holiday stemmed from three Catholic priests martyred on February 14.

One of them, St. Valentine, defied Roman emperor Claudius II in the 3rd century by marrying young couples in secret.

However, the happiest people today may not be the holiday’s devotees, but the stockholders of the companies reaping the commercial benefits.

Approximately 180 million roses and 36 millon heart-shaped candy boxes will be exchanged today, and profits associated with the holiday will near $14 billion, according to the History Channel.