Valentine’s Day Has Mysterious, Romantic Origins

 On February 14, lovers, friends and family members exchange Valentine cards or gifts as tokens of caring and love. Valentine’s Day is one of the most romantic days of the year.
 Its history, however, is shrouded in mystery. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made the best soldiers, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and performed marriages for young lovers in secret. When it was discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
 According to another legend, Valentine sent the first valentine greeting himself. While in prison, he fell in love with a young girl who often visited him. Before his death, he wrote her a letter, which he signed “From your Valentine.”
 Others claim that the Christian church celebrated Valentine’s feast day in February to compete with celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival, which began on February 15. It was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture.
 In Great Britain, Valentine was one of the most popular saints. Valentine’s Day began to be celebrated in the seventeenth century. By the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers to exchange tokens of affection or handwritten notes. Some years later, printed cards began to replace written letters. They were an easy way to express emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged.
 In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America. According to the Greeting Card Association, over a billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year right after Christmas.
 Why not make your sweetheart happy? A valentine card would be a great way to communicate your love!

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