May 22, 2022

Roses that are red, some that are blue, and ones of many other shades line the shelves of flower shops everywhere in anticipation of their big day. Valentine’s Day. 

The Valentine’s Day anticipation is no different for Jennifer Poczik, a local florist who spends her days caring for a variety of plants and flowers.

Every year on Feb. 14, people around the globe give gifts, often of flowers and candy, to loved ones in the name of Saint Valentine

But who is Saint Valentine? The answer may not be as simple as it seems. 

In fact, there is more than one Saint Valentine origin theory. 

While the exact origins of Valentine’s Day remain a mystery, it is believed that the day comes from a mix of both Catholic and Ancient Roman traditions. 

In one of the more popular iterations of Saint Valentine’s story, it is said he was a Roman priest who performed secret weddings against the wishes of authorities. 

After being imprisoned in the home of a noble, Valentine healed the blind daughter of his captor and converted the family to Christianity. Consequently, Valentine was sentenced to death on Feb. 14, where he was tortured and decapitated. 

Valentine’s Day bouquet. Image by Lily Sherry

But, before his death, Valentine was able to send a single note to the girl he had cured, which he signed “Your Valentine.” 

However, it is also believed that the Christian Pope Gelasius I created Valentine’s Day to replace the banned Roman Festival of Lupercalia.

Lupercalia was a festival celebrating fertility rights held annually on Feb. 15. The celebration ended with men drawing women’s names to pair up with, often resulting in marriage. 

Over time Valentine’s Day’s meaning has changed, and today, Valentine’s Day is simply a day for couples to show their love for one another.

While the pandemic has made it difficult for those wishing to celebrate the day of love, as people look to avoid giving the gift of COVID-19 this Valentine’s Day, flowers have remained a safe way to show affection.

Poczik said that despite the pandemic, flower sales continue to grow “because flowers and plants are something that can easily be dropped off on a porch.” 

But when giving flowers for Valentine’s Day, it may be important to know the secrets that lie within your bouquets.

Many flowers hold symbolic meanings that represent the different kinds of love people share. 

Roses, the most popular flower given on Valentine’s Day, have unique meanings depending on the colour of their petals, with the traditional red roses symbolizing love and passion.

The different rose colours and their meanings. Infographic by Lily Sherry

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries across the globe, including Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia, South Korea, Mexico, France, Argentina, and the Philippines. 

At Conestoga College, some students look forward to the day. 

Sreevalsan Nair, a Conestoga College student, said, “I do not have any plans for this year as I have recently moved to Canada, but I do want to be part of Canadian Valentine’s Day celebrations in future.”

Chidimma Chidolue, another Conestoga student, said they wouldn’t be participating in Valentine’s Day celebrations this year because their partner is out of the country. 

But whether people have plans for Valentine’s Day or not, in the words of Chidolue, Valentine’s Day remains “a typical day to express love and care, not just for your partner but also the people around us.”

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