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For one Harvard student, it was just another day of "the typical eat-study-sleep routine," but for the more sentimental, yesterday's celebration of St. Valentine's Day symbolized the year's last chance to express love without looking more foolish than anyone else.
As temperatures reached the 40s, students' springtime hearts began to flutter. Candy stores, florists and the Coop stationery department bustled with valentine seekers.
An employee at Brigham's said the occasion is their "most candy and pink ice cream selling day" of the year.
"I can't believe I've degenerated to buying candy hearts. I mean, this spring weather has made me all mushy inside," one student waiting in a long line at Bailey's said yesterday.
The spirit of the day varied from those who embarassingly hid their newly bought gifts under brown paper bags to one who scorned the bag and carried cards to match her red boots, sweater and candy striped skirt.
"I think that Cupid's turkey, but I get into other aspects of the day so that I get so happy and sentimental that I could squeeze marischino cherries and watch that red juice drip from my hands for hours," Mark Weeneker '80 said yesterday.
Dark chocolate hearts, renewing of friendships and contact with the opposite sex were most frequently cited as important elements in the Valentine tradition.
"The best part of Valentine's Day is that I get a chance to make up for all the mistakes I made over Christmas," Don Davis, a second-year graduate student in Government said yesterday.
One mildly entangled couple walking through Cambridge Common said that red was the most vital aspect of the occasion because it represented "passion, divine love, and was of great sexual significance."
Ike Thomas '80 said he believes in the romantic aspects of the day. Buying candy for his girlfriend, he said, "We got back together today and this is a special way of showing my love for her."
The romantic origins of Valentine's Day date back as far as the 14th century, when Chaucer compared our contemporary view of February 14 to the romance of bird life:
"For this was Seynt Valentyne's Day, when every foul cometh ther to choose his mate."
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