Different Sides to Valentine’s Day

Featured image: courtesy of magic4walls.com.

By Kendra Jones

Valentine’s Day for some is always a romantic time of the year with many different stories to tell. Whether you are exchanging gifts and affection with a significant other, a group of friends or ignoring the holiday completely, everyone is found to be doing something a little bit different on Feb. 14.

According to the History Channel, it is believed that Valentine’s Day is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of St. Valentine’s death or burial or to acknowledge the claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration, Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture.

Believed to begin in the early 1700’s, Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-selling holiday with an estimated one billion cards being sent out.

While flowers, chocolates, gifts and fancy dinners are typically presented to a woman on this day, in Japan a woman gives gifts to men, usually being chocolate, and men can later reciprocate these gifts exactly one month later on March 14.

When York College students were asked for their most memorable past Valentine’s Day events, both bad and good holidays were experienced.

“I spent last Valentine’s Day in the hospital because my mom had to have surgery,” said one student. She continued her story by saying that despite spending the holiday in the hospital, the day was improved from being gloomy just by one kindhearted gesture. The nursing staff kindly brought her coffee as she waited in the hospital for her mom on Valentine’s Day.

Last year, as a high school senior, a York College student was working behind the customer service desk of a grocery store, greeting customers. “I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of working 8 and a half hours instead of going out on a cute date with my then boyfriend,” said the student. Not only did her boyfriend drive 45 minutes to greet her at the counter just to talk for a few minutes, but he also cleaned her room and dropped off a bouquet of flowers, a teddy bear and a heart pillow at her home where she was completely surprised when she arrived home after work.

“This Valentine’s Day I spent about 7 hours in a car,” said a student. The student had driven to New Jersey to meet their significant other’s parents for the first time. The weekend went great, and the family was warm and accepting. “We spent Sunday morning at the mall, buying chocolate truffles to try on the long ride home,” said the student. They then stocked up on caffeinated beverages for the long trek ahead to the significant other’s college in Altoona before the York College student had to drive two and a half hours back to York. “The drive to Altoona wasn’t bad. He kept me laughing the entire ride, and the chocolate truffles were absolutely amazing,” said the student.

Another student described her first Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend of whom she had plans to go out to dinner with and have a nice “traditional” kind of night out, but that year, there was a huge snowstorm coming, meaning that they were going to be snowed in. She said that as a result of the impending weather, her boyfriend ran out to get a bunch of “supplies” to have a night in.

“He got little lanterns and a cute blanket, then came back and set up his room to be a cozy blanket and pillow fort. He put his bed up on the highest setting, put a bunch of blankets and pillows under the bed, set up his television under the bed to watch movies and lined the bed with the lanterns.” When it was all ready, he brought her in with her eyes closed, and she was surprised with the fort. She said, “I pretty much cried.” The couple ended up watching Tangled, one of her favorite Disney movies, ordered in Chinese and just relaxed the whole night.

“It was honestly one of the sweetest things to ever happen to me and resulted in the perfect Valentine’s Day,” said the student interviewed.

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