In The Name of Love: What Whatcom’s students think of Valentines Day

by Rachel Remington

Horizon Reporter

John Lennon of the Beatles once said, “Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given, never forgotten, never let it disappear.”   He was a man that believed in the power of love, and sang about it through much of his music.  Valentine’s Day is all about expressing your love, and for many it’s a treasured holiday.  Nevertheless, students at Whatcom Community College have expressed mixed feelings about it.

“It’s a cool holiday.” said Gus Carbone, 18, “It’s a time to express your feelings to someone else more openly than you usually do.”

Others oppose the day.  “It’s a consumer holiday that makes people feel bad about themselves.” said Michael Sullivan, 23.

To many, Valentine’s Day is simply recognized as a day of romance and affection.  However, the holiday is full of history, some of which may be very surprising.  The day was originally known as “Saint Valentine’s Day,” and it originated in ancient Rome.  The holiday was made to honor Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses.

The holiday later developed into a more romantic meaning because Emperor Claudius II of Rome decided to forbid all marriages in Rome, whereas Saint Valentine, a romantic priest of Rome, was secretly marrying couples.  When news of his secrecy got out, he was put to death on February 14, around 270 AD.

Many traditions have stemmed from Valentine’s Day, such as having a date for the occasion, or buying flowers and candy for one another.  A more ancient tradition of the holiday was that girls would write their name on a piece of paper and place it in a jar, and the boys would draw a name, and the girl they selected would be their partner for the entire holiday.  Most countries have a history of Valentine’s Day traditions, but all the traditions are in the name of love.

Valentine’s Day is a day that many couples enjoy and celebrate, and there are a number of couples at Whatcom.  A couple sitting upstairs in the Syre building sat together in one of the study chairs, legs intertwined, the woman leaning in toward towards her boyfriend as they watched a movie together on a laptop.

Moments later, a woman with long brown hair and boy with a black leather jacket walked down the stairs in Syre, pinkies laced and smiling at one another.  Various couples can be seen at Whatcom every day.

Many students at Whatcom remembered memorable experiences on Valentine’s Day, whether it was a night out on the town or a cozy get-together in their house watching movies.

“He gave me roses and took me to the ballet,” said Elise Meidal, 22, in regards to her boyfriend’s holiday efforts, “It was very impressive.”

Katia Huerta, 22, had a more casual Valentine’s experience with her significant other.  “He cooked me dinner and we just hung out and watched movies.” said Huerta. “I would like to get flowers.  I wouldn’t expect to get jewelry or anything.”

Although not everyone has experienced the perfect Valentine’s Day date, plenty of students have ideas about what the perfect date would be like.  “I think a walk through Boulevard park would be awesome, or maybe going out on a boat somewhere as long as it’s nice,” said Lacey Cratsenberg, 20.

Erik Mackie, 27, has extravagant ideas of the perfect date for his wife.  “I would probably say a cruise around the Mediterranean for a month and make stops in all the historic sites,” said Mackie. “Of course we’d have to include Paris.”

Regardless of whether someone is in a relationship or if they’re flying solo, they can think of Valentine’s Day as a day to show appreciation to anyone in their life they love and care about.  As Helen Keller once said, “The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.”

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