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Each year on February 14 we celebrate what is called as Valentine’s Day. On this day, cross the country, various candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. However, when we celebrate this day, we often forget as to why we actually celebrate this day and how this day’s celebration started. Most of us know the fact that the day is called after the name of Saint Valentine and the whole month of February is regarded as the month of romance. Let us try to find out the history behind this great day of love and romance.


The History of Valentine's Day

St. Valentine's Day, as we know the fact today, contains tinctures of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. However, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become connected with this ancient rite Today, the Catholic Church acknowledges at least three various saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

One of the legends out of these three saints grapples that St. Valentine was a priest who served the Rome during the third century. It was that time in Rome when the Emperor Claudius II made an announcement that instead of married men having wives and families, single men made better soldiers. He totally criminalized marriage for men in his army of corp. soldiers. It was first the St. Valentine who identified the injustice of the rule imposed by Emperor Claudius II. He made it a point to continue perform marriages between young lovers in secret. Obviously, when the Emperor Claudius II heard of this illegal offence, he ordered to put St. Valentine to death. This is one of the stories prevalent about St. Valentine.

The second story suggest that St. Valentine was killed for trying to help Christians break away the harsh roman prisons where they were beaten and put to many hardships.

The third story suggests that St. Valentine actually sent the first valentine greeting to himself. When he was in prison, St. Valentine fell in love with a young girl who might be the jailors’ daughter who made a visit to him during his confinement. Before his death it is alleged that he wrote a letter to her stating his signature as From your Valentine an expression that is still prevalent today.

Although the truth behind the valentine day is blurred, the stories suggest that St. Valentine was the most sympathetic, heroic, and the most romantic figure in the history. By the middle Ages, it came to a surprise that Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

In England, the valentine day began to be celebrated and gained popularity in the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century it became very common for friends and lovers in all the social strata to exchange flowers, cards, gifts and other pieces of affection and warmth. It was by the end of century that printed cards began to gain popularity to replace handwritten letters due to advancement in printing technology. These cards provided an easy way for people to express their emotions and feelings at a time when a direct expression of feeling and emotions was not very much encouraged.

Cheaper postage rates also bestowed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans started exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In America, in the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines.

An estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, according to the Greeting Card Association. It made the Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.

Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.


Some of the Valentine Traditions

1. Thousands of years ago in England, many children wore similar dresses as that of adults on Valentine's Day. They recited poems from home to home. One of the verses they sang was:

Good morning to you, valentine;

Curl your locks as I do mine---

Two before and three behind.

Good morning to you, valentine.


2. Wooden love spoons were carved in Wales and given as gifts on February 14th. Favourite decorations on the spoons were Hearts, keys and keyholes. The decoration meant: you unlock my heart.


3. In the middle Ages, young men and women started a practice of drawing their names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They wore these names on their sleeves for one week. The practice of wearing your heart on your sleeve demonstrated that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.


4. In many of the European countries, a young woman received a gift of clothing from a young man. If she kept the gift, it meant she would marry him.


5. Some people started believing that if a woman saw a robin flying over her head on Valentine's Day, it depicted she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, it depicted she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, it depicted she would marry a millionaire.


6. A wide chair is a love seat. It was discovered to seat one woman and her wide dress. Later, the love seat or courting seat had two departments, often in an S-shape. In this way, a couple could sit together however not too closely.


7. Think of five or six names of boys or girls you want to marry. Recite the names until the stem comes off while twisting the stem of an apple. The name you are saying at the time when the stem fell off is the person you are going to get married.


8. Pick a blowball that has gone to seed. Blow the seeds into the wind while taking a deep breadth. Count the number of seeds that remain on the stem. This number is the number of children you will have.


9. You will also know how many children you will have by cutting an apple in half and counting how many seeds are inside.


Some Valentine Facts

» Early Christians celebrated Valentine's Day as a way to honor St. Valentine. The Catholic Church identifies three saints by that name - all were martyred on February 14.

» The US, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, India, and Australia all celebrate Valentine's Day.

» In the U.S each year over 1 billion Valentine cards are sent each year.

» Women purchase 85% of all valentines.

» Parents get 1 out of every 5 valentines.

» Valentine's Day is the biggest holiday for giving flowers.

» Over 50 million roses are given for Valentine's Day each year worldwide.

» Men mostly buy many of the millions of boxes of candy and bouquets of flowers given on Valentine's Day.

» People who got Married on Valentine's Day:

Diane Ladd, Sharon Stone, Prince, Roseanne, Jerry Garcia, Harold Robbins, Meg Ryan, Dennis Quaid and Elton John

» People who were Born On Valentine's Day:

Hugh Downs, Florence Henderson, Carl Bernstein, Gregory Hines, magician Teller of Penn and Teller, Ken Wahl and Meg Tilly