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Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

History of Valentine's Day

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Valentines Day has always been the day dedicated to lovers. There are many

stories as to how Valentines day started. Here are a few of them.

Lupercalia

Valentines Day has its origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia,

observed on Feb. 15. Lupercalia celebrated the coming of Spring in the

Roman calendar (February was observed later in the year than it is today).

Lupercalia was associated with the Roman gods Lupercus and Faunus. Lupercus

watched over shepherds and their flocks and the festival of Lupercalia

became a celebration intended to ensure the fertility of flocks, fields and

people.

The celebration of Lupercalia transformed and spread as the Roman Empire

grew. When the Romans conquered France, it was then that the first

Valentine-like cards may have been exchanged. Apparently, a container in

which women had placed their names (possibly accompanied by love notes) was

used in a lottery. Men drawing a womens name would either seek or were

guaranteed that womans favors.

Saint Valentines Day

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The legend of St. Valentine stems from real-life martyrs from the Roman

Empire known as Valentines. It is unsure who was the St. Valentine, but

there are two possible candidates. One of these Valentines is believed to

have been a Roman priest and physician. He was killed in the third century,

during the persecutions of the Emperor Claudius II. After his death this

Valentine was buried in the Roman road Via Flaminia. Pope Julius I is said

to have later built a basilica above his grave. A second Saint Valentine

candidate, believed to be a bishop of Teni ( a province in central Italy),

was executed in Rome.

These mens status comes from legends of harboring Christians from

persecution, curing the blindness of a cell keepers daughter, and

conducting marriages while they were forbidden during times of war. It is

this, along with the traditions of Lupercalia, that came together to honor

St. Valentine as the patron saint of lovers.

Eros-Cupid-Amor

From its association with Lupercalia, and that days connection to

fertility, comes St. Valentines association with love and romance. This

led Valentines enthusiasts to appoint the Roman god Cupid as a patron of

Valentines day. Cupid is also known as Amor or Eros in Greek mythology.

Eros seems to have been responsible for impregnating a number of goddesses

and mortals. The ancient Greeks believed Eros was the force "love," a force

they believe was behind all creation.

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There are several legends about St.Valentines Day. One of the legends says

that Valentine was Christian priest who lived in the 3 century A.D. He was

put into prison by roman authorities for his teachings and was beheaded on

February 14. According to the legend he performed a miracle-he cured his

jailers daughter of her blindness. Before the execution he wrote her a

letter signed From Your Valentine. Another legend says that the same

Valentine wrote to children and friends who loved him from the jail.

According to another legend, Valentine was an Italian bishop who lived

at about the same time. He was thrown into prison because he secretly

married couples, contrary to the laws of the Roman empire. The legend says

that he was burnt at the stake.

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February 14 was also a Roman holiday. On this day young men randomly

chose the name of the girl to escort to the festival. The custom of

choosing a sweetheart on this day became very popular in the medieval

Europe. Later this custom spread to American colonies.

Now, St.Valentines Day is the day of sweethearts. On this day, people

show their friends relatives and ones that they care. People send candy or

flowers to those whom they love. Most people send valentines, greeting

cards named after St.Valentines letters written from jail. Valentines can

be sentimental and romantic, or funny and friendly. Valentines can be

anonymous. Valentines can be heart-shaped or can carry hearts on them.

People buy valentines or make them themselves.

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