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The History of Valentine’s Day

Popular Versions of the History of Valentine's Day

The fateful day of St. Valentine’s is often called as lover’s day or the day of love. It falls on February 14 every year and is widely celebrated by people of all ages. Valentine's Day celebrates love in all its forms and is not restricted to romantic love. Hence, people celebrate this day by presenting Valentine's Day gifts to parents, teachers, siblings, friends, sweethearts or anyone special or close to them. Exchanging cards, flowers and chocolates is the most common expression of love on Valentine's Day.

There are many accounts of how Valentine's Day came to be celebrated by people all over the world. We will discuss some of these,

Feast of Lupercal

This festival of love traces its origin to the ancient Roman Festival when the 'Feast of Lupercal' was celebrated in honor of the Roman God of Fertility. There used to be mutual exchange of love notes known as "valentines". According to a time worn custom, on the eve of Lupercalia (14th of Feb) a ritual of 'name drawing' was followed, in which a young man drew the name of a girl from the lot, who was to be his sweetheart for the whole year. Quite often, the couple would fall in love with each other and eventually get married. The custom lasted for a long time until people started feeling that the custom was un-Christian and that a mate should be chosen by sight.

Relevance of St. Valentine

The version which is closer to the truth is in relation to the actions of a priest known as St. Valentine. During the reign of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in several unpopular campaigns and many families lost their sons, husbands and fathers during this period. Emperor Claudius came to understand that people did not wish to join the army since they did not wish to leave their families for war. A romantic priest St. Valentine defied his order. St. Valentine helped couples who were in love by getting them married secretly. He was killed on 14th Feb, about 270AD for defying the Emperor's orders. After his death Valentine was named a Saint. Since then St Valentine came to be known as the patron saint of lovers.

Another Version Associated with St. Valentine

As per another story, Valentine attempted to help Christians escape from the Roman prison as they were being tortured and beaten there. According to yet another version, Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter who then used to visit him during confinement. Before his death Valentine wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart and signed it, ‘From your Valentine'. The expression became quite popular amongst love struck couples and is still very much in vogue.

Some Popular Facets of Valentine’s Day

Mating Season of Birds

Since early times people have held the belief that birds start looking for their mate from February 14. This notion has further helped in associating Valentine's day with love and romance.

Popularity of Valentines Day

Initially, the trend was to send handmade cards to our loved ones. But this changed in the beginning of the 19th century and mass-produced cards became popular. With passing time this day is increasingly become commercially popular across the world.

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