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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"Valentine's Day "