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Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day falls on February 14. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine's cards, often anonymously. The holiday is named after two men, both Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

The day is now most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines". Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

In the United States, the marketing of Valentine's Day has tagged it as a "Hallmark holiday".

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History of Valentine's Day

The enchanting history of Valentine's Day began as "A day when the lover's began to mate." A peek through the history of Valentine's Day suggests that a blend of Roman Paganism and Catholic history is associated with its origin.

The earliest origin of the history of Valentine's Day suggests that during the fourth century BC, Valentine's Day was connected with the Feast of Lupercal. The Feast of Lupercal was a pagan festival comprised of celebrations of nature. It was held in honor of Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. Juno was also the goddess of women and marriage, so honoring her was thought to be a fertility rite. The celebration featured a lottery in which young men drew the names of teenage girls from a box. Letters written from the respective girls would accompany these names. What followed was an arbitrary matching: the chosen woman would be the man's sexual companion during the remaining year.

The most popular legend traces back the history of Valentines Day to the Christian martyr St. Valentine. St. Valentine was a priest who served Rome during the third-century reign of Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor outlawed marriage for young men; according to him, single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Realizing the injustice of the decree, Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers and united them through secret societies. As a consequence of his actions, he was exiled around 270 AD.

As per official records, in 496 AD., Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as an official holiday, in the name of St. Valentine. This remained a Church holiday until 1969, when Pope Paul VI removed it from the Church's calendar. The religious meaning associated with the history of Valentine's Day have allowed it to continue as a holiday.

Another well-known tale detailing the history of Valentine's Day is that Valentine fell in love with a young maiden who was blind. She might have been the jailor's daughter. Valentine's love for her, and his great faith, managed to miraculously heal her from her blindness. And before his death execution, he sent a letter to her including the popular line, "From your Valentine." This expression continues to be the popular lingo of Valentine's Day, even today.

Comprehension at greater depths reveals that the spread and popularity of Valentine's Day is directly proportional to the wearing away of paganism with Christianity as a substitute. In an effort to Christianize celebrations of the pagan festival, the Christian Church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's Day. To replace the pagan god Lupercus, the Church found an appropriate choice in Valentine. Thus in this case the history of Valentine's Day begins with a covenient date to suit the Church's Christianization purposes.

The history of Valentine's Day probably began when it was imported into North America in the nineteenth century with settlers from Britain. Although the accuracy behind the Valentine legends is ambiguous, the tales highlight the appeal of St. Valentine as a romantic and heroic figure. This qualifies him as an immensely popular idol throughout the ages.

About the Author, Eric Morris
Valentines Day provides detailed information on Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day Gifts, Valentine's Day Gift Baskets, Valentine's Day Cards and more. Valentines Day is affliated with Mexican Holidays.

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