The School Newspaper of West High School

West Signals

The School Newspaper of West High School

West Signals

The School Newspaper of West High School

West Signals

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The National Honor Society provides help in many AP exams. Tutors were assigned to one subject to improve their tutees experience, providing advice based on previous experience in each class. “I recommend coming to these AP cram sessions because you can receive help from students who have previously and recently taken the test,” NHS board member Katie Ho (12) explained.
Time to Cram!
Katelyn Baba, Staff Writer • May 9, 2024
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The Surprising History Behind Valentine’s Day

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Art/Photo by Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Although many of us now associate Valentine’s Day with red roses, chocolates, and oversized teddy bears, the holiday actually has much different, much darker origins- and has changed dramatically over history. Which begs the question; how has a day with such a dark history become one of the most romantic ones?

   The exact origin of Valentine’s Day is not a clear cut answer. There are several theories, all of which could be plausible. One involves the ancient Roman festival known as Lupercalia, which unlike our modern Valentine’s Day, was anything but sweet and romantic. The festival involved violent animal sacrifices and random matchmaking based on a lottery, in order to celebrate fertility and ward off evil spirits. Another theory is that at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius forbade the festival, he replaced it with the Valentine’s Day holiday. Some also believe that the holiday comes from Christian martyrs named Valentine. Regardless, Valentine’s Day was anything but romantic until about the 14th century when writers such as William Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer began to write about it.

   In the 1500s, formal messages, or Valentines as we now call them, began to pop up. By the 1800s, commercial Valentines in the U.S were beginning to be printed. As time went on, the holiday became increasingly romanticized and associated with symbols of love such as Cupid, the Roman god of love, and hearts- which typically symbolize emotion and feeling.

   Now, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by millions of people all over the world, and not just couples. Galentine’s Day, an entirely new holiday inspired by Valentine’s Day, is a day dedicated solely to celebrating female friendships. Sasha Rogala (12), who celebrated the recent Valentine’s Day with her partner, explained that to her, “Valentine’s Day is about showing the important people in your life, whether they be a significant other, your family, or your friends, that you love and care for them.” 

Christian Robledo (11), who celebrated with his family, noted that he enjoys the boldness the holiday tends to inspire, saying, “People usually feel more open to share feelings on days where others will do the same.”

   Regardless of whether you have a significant other or not, Valentine’s Day is a special day for anyone who enjoys it. Considering that it is a far cry from the more morbid practices of yesteryear, perhaps Valentines will encourage us to hold our loved ones just a bit closer, and to take the time to spread love and kindness just a bit longer.

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About the Contributor
Alexandra Arnold
Alexandra Arnold, Staff Writer
Alex Arnold is a senior at West High School and excited to spend her first year on Signals as a staff writer. She hopes to capture the unique experiences around West through her words, and play a part in sharing them with others. An avid reader and lover of any form of caffeine, Alex loves to visit art museums and meet new kinds of people whenever she can!