-

The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

-

viewpoint

St. Valentine’s Day

| Wednesday, February 15, 2017

For the Valentine’s Day haters out there, I have a question for you. How could anyone hate a holiday packed with sacrifice, a fight for justice, miracles martyrdom and unconditional love? Yes, I’m talking about the story behind Valentine’s Day — actually, it’s St. Valentine’s Day.

I admit, Valentine’s Day is definitely not one of my favorite holidays. In fact, it may be at the bottom of my list based on how it is commercialized, but there’s so much more to it that everyone seems to be missing. I’m not just saying this because I’m in a relationship and have someone to spend the holiday with, St. Valentine’s Day is meant for everybody whether they’re married, in a relationship, single, Christian or non-Christian.

You may have forgotten or maybe you didn’t know, but St. Valentine’s Day was created in honor of St. Valentine. He was a Roman priest in a time when many people in Rome were still Pagan and converting to Christianity. However, even those who were converting to Christianity were still polygamous and were not honoring marriage. In fact, soldiers were not permitted to get married even if they were married because the government thought unmarried soldiers would be more likely to die for their Empire than those who were married. If a soldier were to get married, it would be treason.

Tradition holds that St. Valentine was an advocate for marriage despite the laws of the Empire; a peaceful warrior for sacred love between couples who desired it. As such, he would marry people in secret to preserve the Christian tradition. Eventually, he was caught and imprisoned for his actions.

However, even in prison, Christians would come to seek his wise words — one in particular was a young blind girl. Before St. Valentine was tortured and beheaded for his actions against the Empire, he restored the girl’s sight and gave her a note with his last words. This is how the tradition of giving valentines came to be.

St. Valentine’s Day is about so much more than showering your loved one with flowers, chocolates and cheesy love notes. It’s about honoring the kind of unconditional and sacrificial love that St. Valentine showed for the persecuted Christians and for God. So this Valentine’s Day, let’s move away from the commercialized holiday and recognize true love — the kind of love that you would die for — the love between family members, best friends, significant others and God.

Put the “St.” back in Valentine’s Day — it makes the holiday so much more valuable.

 

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: ,

About Stephanie Snyder

Contact Stephanie