Not just love: Valentine’s Day has deeper meaning

Photo by sure2talk, flickr 

Cristina Garcia/Staff Writer 

Many people exchange presents on Valentine’s Day, but how many know what’s behind the commercialism?

The national holiday dates back from the 5th century and is named after a Christian martyr. The story behind the figure has many parts that remain a mystery.

According to the, one legend says Valentine went against a royal decree to keep soldiers single — as the king thought this helped his soldiers stay on task — and continued performing marriages for the soldiers in secret. Another legend says Valentine was in prison and sent a girl a love note, what we today call a valentine. Then there is a legend void of romance where Valentine was killed for helping his fellow Christians in Roman prisons. indicates the day didn’t receive association to love overnight. Much time passed before Feb. 14 became associated with love, way into the Middle Ages.

In reality, the holiday is so much more than a day for stuff, it’s a day for human connection, a time for social activism.

On Feb. 14 a campaign called One Billion Rising For Justice calls upon “women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely” in communal areas where they should feel safe, but do not, to “break the silence and release their stories,” according the the campaign’s site.

The break of silence can take the form of art, marches, poetry, testimonies or “whatever way feels right,” as written on

This year, two events are happening locally. On-campus, Amnesty International  will host a One Billion Rising event at the Graham Center Pit from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. A bigger event is also planned to happen at Miami Dade College – Wolfson Campus from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

At the events, Panthers can participate in a rally to stop human trafficking, connect with others on a meaningful level, learn new information about violence against women and celebrate the progress that has been made.

Valentine’s Day can be a time to celebrate martyrs, chocolates, sex or justice. You choose; it doesn’t have to be just one. Either way, partners are optional. 

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