To my Valentine: February

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To my Valentine: February

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As we close up our summer/winter break we come back to the dreaded realization that it’s already February! Yes, it happened, the month of “love” has arrived. For some couples, Valentine’s Day means a romantic candlelight dinner with your loved one; as for for everybody else, it means social media feeds overrun by obnoxious pictures of roses and heart-shaped chocolates.

 

Hardly, if ever, do people stop and ask: where did Valentine’s Day come from? Although there isn’t any solid evidence of the origins of Valentine’s Day, it has been proven to contain vestiges of the early Christian Church and ancient Rome. The common association between February and romance traces back to a pagan festival, known as Lupercalia. In order to impose fertility, the festival began with animal sacrifices and the slapping of women with the animal skin and blood. Therefore, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Saint Valentine’s Day.

 

St. Valentine came from many legends, the most known goes back to the Roman Emperor Claudius II who needed soldiers to be separated from his families. However, he soon realized that the love between husband and wife was unbreakable, hence why he banned marriage. Against his authority, a priest named Saint Valentine would marry couples in secrecy. When Claudius found out of St. Valentine’s discretions, he made sure to execute him. He was executed on February 14, the same day he sent his lover a note saying, “From your Valentine.” This is when it all began, and thus began the cards.

 

Now some of you may be wondering, so what? Why do I, a single non-relationship person care about Valentine’s Day? Guess what, you’re in luck. There are so many other holidays that go by unnoticed in February, here are some of my personal favorites:

  1. National Freedom Day: Always celebrated on February 1st national freedom day celebrates freedom from slavery. It was established in 1948 to symbolize and remind others that America stands for the freedom of all people. The roots of this special day are from the signing of the 13th amendment.
  2. International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day: Yes, they’ve created a day devoted to eating ice cream for breakfast. This international holiday is always celebrated on the first Saturday of February. Due to the fact, it’s mid winter in the United States (where it originated) they’ve decided to change the classic winter breakfast and experiment with something different to lift their spirits.
  3. Make a Friend Day: February 11th is entirely committed to making a new friend, be it in school or on our carnaval break. There’s no such thing as having too many friends, the more the merrier. Remember stepping out of your comfort zone can be rewarding.
  4. Random Acts of Kindness Day: Always celebrated on February 17th, random act of kindness day is solely dedicated to perform a few acts of generosity. Be it by smiling at a stranger or giving someone a nice present. Any act of kindness is fully accepted on this day.
  5. Leap Day: That’s right! It’s been four years since our last February 29th which means 2016 will have 366 days. We have leap days because the earth rotates the sun every 365 and about ¼ days. Therefore, by adding an extra day every four years we’re able to keep the calendars consistent with the earth’s orbits around the sun.

 

Overall, if you’re not a Valentine’s Day number one fan, you clearly have many other holidays and events to look forward to. Not only did you learn a little history about the romantic St. Valentine’s story, but you learned about new and undiscovered “holidays.” Now, you can go through the month of February not solely thinking about Valentine’s Day, but about all these other fun holidays and events awaiting.

 

Sources: history.com, holidayinsights.com

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