February 14, 2013
Over $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased on this day (in the U.S. alone!), 15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on this day, and more than nine million pet owners buy their pets gifts for this special occasion.
Valentines day…the most dreaded and loved day of many. It is perhaps one of the most controversial festivities of the year, with over 40% of people having negative feelings about the day. Approximately 145 million valentines are sent in the U.S. each year, definitely making shop owners happy, as an estimated 13.1 billion dollars are spent on and for this day.
The traditions of February the 14th date back all the way to the year 496, and there are several myths about the traditions behind the day. One version of the story states that a saint named Valentine secretly got married, in disfavor of the Roman emperor Claudius II who believed that young men should be made soldiers rather than husbands, and was put to death as a result. Another version of the story states that St. Valentine was imprisoned and fell in love with the daughter of the warden. Before being executed, he sent a letter to her, signing it “from your valentine”. Although the real story and details may be unknown, Valentines Day is celebrated to remember the death of St. Valentine.
Over the years, however, this day has developed into an increasingly commercial event, and the real reason for the celebration is unknown by many. Interestingly, over 1,000 letters are sent to the Italian city of Verona, the place where Romeo and Juliet lived, on Valentine’s Day each year, addressed to Juliet. The association of Cupid with Valentine’s Day is made because of a Roman myth, in which he is the son of Venus, the goddess of Love. In this story, Cupid is known for shooting people with his magical arrows that make people fall in love, and this has become an icon for love and Valentines Day.
In the Raha school community, the 14th is celebrated as “Friendship day”, where students have a chance to send candy-grams to one another to express their appreciation of friendship. A dress-down day will also take place, allowing students to dress in red or pink to get in the spirit of the day.