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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Valentine’s Day at ’Deis

Published: February 11, 2011
Section: Features

What do we know about Valentine’s Day? We know that every year on Feb. 14 people send cards, flowers and gifts to the ones they love. But why is it “Valentine’s” Day? Who is St. Valentine?

Today the Catholic Church recognizes at least three saints with a similar last name, all of whom were martyred. One legend cites Valentine as a priest during the 3rd century in Rome who defied Emperor Claudius II when he outlawed marriage for young men in the hopes of creating a better army. Valentine continued to perform secret marriages in defiance, but was discovered and put to death.

Another legend tells that when Valentine was in prison he fell in love with a young girl who visited him during his confinement. Before his execution, it is believed that he wrote her a letter and signed it, “From your Valentine,” becoming the first Valentine’s Day card.

Whether Valentine was a priest performing secret marriages or a man writing love notes in the face of death, a day has been made in his honor and the celebration has spread to many places in the world. Great Britain began celebrating close to the 17th century. America followed suit and Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards in America in the 1840s.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year after Christmas. Also, according to Hallmark, more than 50 percent of all Valentine’s Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the observance, making Valentine’s Day a procrastinator’s delight.

But what is Valentine’s Day to Brandeisians?

Hazal Uzunkaya ’14, Istanbul, Turkey

I’m from Turkey and in coming to the States, Valentine’s Day has become a whole new experience. In Turkey, Valentine’s Day is a day celebrated strictly between lovers as a time to purchase things and exchange them. However, in America, Valentine’s Day is a day not restricted to just lovers, rather it is a day to celebrate the love you feel towards everyone by buying candy, flowers and cards. But for me personally, I feel like every day should be a day to celebrate love. However, it is nice to have a designated day to put all of your focus into and make something personal to show how much you care for the people who are close to you. XOXO! Jk.

Manny Zahonet ’14, Bronx, NY

In 2009 I began longboarding, an activity that is relatively dangerous. I would board with this insanely hot, smart girl named Lujaisi Reynoso. She would glide like an angel on any skateboard on any surface. We spent most of our time together traveling down hills at 40 mph. On Valentine’s Day it was snowing, which brought our longboarding activities to a halt. Therefore, we stayed in, watched a movie, and ate Captain Crunch. As I was walking her home I slipped and fell backwards on the ice. Before I could get up she sat down besides me. It sounds quite simple but it was one of the cutest moments I can remember having. Lujaisi Reynoso didn’t wait for me to make the first move. She kissed me. Totally beat longboarding.

Jessica Petrino ’13, Rockport, MA

Last Valentine’s Day I was home for break with my boyfriend of four months. From the offset, this Valentine’s Day appeared to be one of those nonchalant date nights. After dinner at our favorite restaurant, we went for a walk. We followed the route we took on our first date together. We paused as we reached the spot where we shared our first kiss together. As expected, we relived that first kiss and, to my surprise, I was not bored reliving this experience yet was struck by its importance to our relationship. The second time around I was far less nervous and awkward. Rather, we were comfortable with each other’s company and affection. That night did not turn out to be full of commercial candy hearts and store-bought cards, as I had expected. Nor did I feel the universal disappointment of a let-down holiday. On the other hand, I realized how important it is to preserve our favorite memories and make them better every time we relive them.

Dan Gutman ’12, Mt. Olive, NJ

So it was first year and my then-girlfriend had recently decided she wanted a break. I decided Valentine’s Day would be the time to win her back; I knew if it was possible, I’d have to go all out. The 14th was the Saturday before our February break, so the dorms were completely empty, and my roommate Michael Tatarsky and I decided to do a double date. We’d turn our room in Renfield into the Waldorf, complete with a covered dining table, candles, roses everywhere, the works. At 7 a.m. I stuck a huge teddy bear with an invite tucked in the collar outside of her door, I knew she’d come. That day Mike and I set up the room and prepared the meal, we got a huge sushi platter and chocolate fondue with strawberries to dip for dessert. The girls came at 8; we had Sinatra playing and white wine on the table. We ate, we danced and we had a great time. After all of it, I asked her out again. She said “yes”.