The 14th of February is Valentine's Day. Candy, flowers, and presents are shared between loved ones across the United States and around the world on Valentine's Day, all in the name of St. Valentine. And we have 30% discount for you.
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Who was Valentine
But who is this enigmatic saint, and where did these customs originate? Learn about the history of Valentine's Day, from the ancient Roman springtime festival of Lupercalia to Victorian England's card-giving habits.
The origins of Valentine's Day, as well as the legend surrounding its patron saint, are buried in obscurity. We do know that February has always been associated with passion, and that St. Valentine's Day, as we know it now, incorporates Christian and ancient Roman traditions. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he come to be connected with such a sacrament?
At least three individual saints called Valentine or Valentinus are recognized by the Catholic Church, all of whom were martyred. Valentine, according to mythology, was a priest who served in Rome around the third century. Emperor Claudius II forbade marriage for young men because he believed that lone men made better soldiers than those with wives and families. Valentine disobeyed Claudius and continued to execute covert marriages for young couples, despite the decree's injustice. Claudius ordered Valentine's execution after his acts were exposed. Others argue that Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, was the actual inspiration for the holiday. Claudius II also beheaded him outside of Rome.
Valentine's Day Origins: A February Pagan Festival
While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial—which is thought to have occurred around A.D. 270—others believe that the Christian church chose the middle of February to "Christianize" the pagan Lupercalia celebration. Lupercalia was a fertility festival devoted to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as the Roman founders Romulus and Remus, and was held on the ides of February, or February 15.
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