Recognizing Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that many celebrate and many choose not to. Regardless of what people choose to do during this mid-February event, why and how this holiday began tends to be unknown.

Local community members were asked on the Record-Herald Facebook page how they spent this year’s holiday, which is recognized on Feb. 14.

Several replied that they did “nothing” or worked. Others mentioned having gone out to eat or spent time with loved ones.

Jodie Pope spent her weekend at Hocking Hills, where she and her new spouse, Dave Pope, rented a cabin and got married on Feb. 12. Together, they visited an antique mall, ate at some nice places, explored Athens, visited Marietta and saw a “cool museum.”

Michael Woods explained, “(I) bought my beautiful Wife a card and some White Chocolate, and fixed her favorite Steak on the smoker and watched 1883 the rest of the evening.”

Susan Mitchell explained, “I volunteered at the hospital gift shop. I sold a lot of valentines gifts. Then I visited my mom at the nursing home. I made her a red velvet heart shaped cake. She made one for many years until she couldn’t anymore. Brought back wonderful memories for her. She loved it! And husband and I ate at Frisch — we love the onion rings there.”

Rob Sisco explained, “my wife and I went to OHAYO HIBACHI GRILL and got each other gifts.”

Kat Briggs spent time with her daughter and grandson.

Sally Hinton explained she got two goldfish and needs to go back for two more.

Sarah Frump explained they cooked lamb chops and asparagus and made a salad together. Then they watched 1000 lb Best Friends before going to bed.

Bob Steele enjoyed some White Castle.

Barbie Borreson and her significant other celebrated their sixth anniversary just spending the day together.

Cara Michelle explained. “(I) sulked about the Bengals all day, then took my daughters out to dinner and ice cream.”

Sarah Newton also spent time with her kids as they didn’t have school Monday.

Kendra Redd-Hernandez, owner of Back-En-Thyme Flower and Gift shop, spent her day designing and delivering beautiful flowers.

James Stolz went to the waterfalls with his wife Marie.

Marie Long explained that, while her significant other was catching some Z’s asleep, she watched Murder Mysteries on television.

There are several ways to spend Valentines’ Day as were seen in the comments. It is a holiday that is up to interpretation. Whether it is spending it with loved ones, a significant other, doing something for oneself, or cuddling up with fur babies, the options are limitless as it is another day that can be made however one sees fit.

But how did Valentine’s become a holiday in the first place?

According to, “The history of the holiday—and the story of its patron saint (St. Valentine)—is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

“The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.”

The website further explained that one legend believes Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers than those with families, he outlawed marriage for young men.

“Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death,” explains the website. “Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.”

There are many other stories of who Valentine was. Some suggest he may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to the website, another legend was that an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl—possibly his jailor’s daughter—who visited him during his confinement.

“Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and—most importantly—romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France,” explains the website.

Why is Valentine’s Day celebrated February 14?

According to the website, “While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial—which probably occurred around A.D. 270—others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to ‘Christianize’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.

“Celebrated at the ides of February, or Feb. 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

“To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa.

“The priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility, and a dog for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year.

“Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.”

Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.

James Stolz went to the waterfalls with his wife Marie. Stolz went to the waterfalls with his wife Marie. Courtesy photos

Jodie Pope spent her weekend at Hocking Hills where she and her new spouse, Dave Pope, rented a cabin and got married on Feb. 12. Pope spent her weekend at Hocking Hills where she and her new spouse, Dave Pope, rented a cabin and got married on Feb. 12. Courtesy photos

By Jennifer Woods

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