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History of Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day RosesWith Valentine’s Day only a few days away, now would be a great time to learn more about the history of this romantic holiday. Not only can this information be used to impress your special valentine, but it’s it makes a great conversation start at work with co-workers. The Legend of St. Valentine St. Valentine’s Day, as we celebrate it today is combination of tradition from both Christian and ancient Roman. However, who is Saint Valentine and how is he associated with this holiday. According to the Catholic Church, there are at least three different saints named Valentine and all three of them where martyred. One legend tells the tale of a priest named Valentine who was beheaded for defying the third century Roman Emperor Claudius II. During his reign, the emperor decided that single men would make better soldiers than married men with a wife and family, thus he outlawed marriage for young men. However, Valentine defied this decree and continued to perform marriage ceremonies. When the emperor discovered his actions, Valentine was beheaded. Yet another legend suggested that Valentine may have been killed for helping Christians escape Roman prisons. In addition, it was during this time, that it is believed that Valentine, a prisoner at the time, sent a “valentine” message to a young girl he fell in love with. Before his death, it is alleged he wrote her a letter and signed it “From your Valentine”. However, no matter what that story is, all of them contain an underlying romantic tone to them. The Origins of Valentine's Day Some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in middle of February to remember Valentine’s death that many believe occurred around 270 A.D. While other claim is was the Christian church that began the celebration in mid-February to assimilate to Pagen celebration of Lupercalia. This festival celebrated the ides of February of February 15. The celebration was dedicated to the founders of Roman, brothers Romulus and Remus. In addition, it also celebrated the Roman god of agriculture named Faunus. According to legend, during the festival, Roman priests would have all of the young women place their name in a big urn and the bachelors would select names out and then be paired with the woman for a year. This action often lead to marriage. A Day of Romance During the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Saint Valentine’s Day. However, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that Valentines Day soon became associated with love. It was a common belief in Middle Age Europe that February 14 was the beginning of mating season for birds.  Thus, during this time it is believed that the link between romance and February 14 was first created. Valentine’s Day Greetings in Modern Times Several countries celebrate Valentine’s Day including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Mexico. It is believe that Esther A. Howland first began selling the first-massed produced Valentine’s card in the 1840’s and is known as the “Mother of the Valentine” It is estimated that over 1 billion Valentine’s Day card are send annually making it the second largest card-selling holiday second only to Christmas.  The majority of all Valentine’s Day cards, approximately 85% are purchased by women
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