The Dark Roots Behind Valentine’s Day

Marandah Mangra-Dutcher, Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day is celebrated annually throughout the world, on February 14. It is a day many view to celebrate love and romance. What you may not know are the roots behind it.

There are many different myths and accounts as to the origin behind Valentines Day, however many of them are dark and end in death. In doing a lot of research and using knowledge from past events I learned that the most recognized account stems from the Catholic saint, St. Valentine. Many historical accounts say that a Roman Emperor ordered men to never marry due to the belief that men were more focused on battle when they were single.  St. Valentine saw the decree as an injustice and inhumane.He apparently responded by continuing to marry young couples behind the back of the Emperor, but was put to death after the Emperor found out. Another popular opinion is that Valentine was helping Christians escape Roman prisons, as they were being beaten and tortured and was sentenced to prison and death when he was discovered. However, in this prison before his scheduled execution he fell in love with the Jailer’s daughter and the day of his death, he wrote a letter. The letter was supposedly signed, “From your Valentine.”

Valentine’s day also marks the anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929. In doing research for my National History Day Project about Al Capone in seventh grade, I found that a mass shooting between his gang and an unsuspecting rival one occurred on Valentine’s Day. Capone’s gang dressed as police officers and interrupted a bootlegging operation, only to shoot all who were present in cold blood. Seven men lost their lives that day. Capone, at the time, could never be directly linked to the murders.

How ironic is it that the day has now morphed into $19.6 billion being spent on teddy bears, overpriced chocolates and flowers.