1. The Real Saint Valentine Is Shrouded In Mystery
Although he lived within the third century AD, almost nothing is known about this saint or the life he led. It isn't even clear how many holy men named Valentine there have been, or which one is honored on Valentine's Day.
Regardless, bits and items in regards to the saint have made it into the realm of legends. The consensus is that he was a priest who broke the law doing what he believed in. Some tales say he conducted marriages between soldiers and their beloveds. In Rome throughout that time, this was in opposition to the law. Soldiers weren't allowed to marry. When Valentine was caught, he was imprisoned and put to dying for defying Roman rules.
Another story also involves his imprisonment, however this time for training his faith and refusing to worship the emperor. While in prison, he turned friends with the jailer's daughter. He prayed for her, and he or she was healed of her maladies. On the night of his execution, Valentine gave his friend a note to comfort her. It read, quite merely, "From Your Valentine."
2. Matchmaking Was An Historical Roman Tradition That Preceded Valentine's Day
Lupercalia was a festival that took place every year in historic Rome between the 13th and fifteenth of February. Its goal was to cleanse and protect the community. Some of the festival traditions had been meant to do away with evil spirits and bless crops.
There was additionally a matchmaking component to the festivities. Women put their names in an urn. Males picked names from the urn. The couples formed by this lottery system had been anticipated to stay collectively for a year. Surprisingly, many of those random matches resulted in marriages.
Centuries later, this ancient celebration merged with the newer tradition of honoring Saint Valentine on February 14. The newer holiday was a lot more subdued, but a number of the festival's romantic features carried forward.
3. Valentine Cards Became All The Rage In Victorian England
In the Middle Ages, noblemen wrote (or hired others to write for them) impassioned love notes to their pricey ones. But it wasn't till the Victorian Period within the mid-1800s that sending valentine cards became a popular custom.
First it was handmade cards embellished with lace and ribbon. These had been fancy cards with intricate designs that included cutouts and pop-ups. The tradition was popularized in England and made its way to the U.S. several decades later.
With advances in printing technology, cards began to be mass-produced. As we speak a hundred and eighty million valentine cards are exchanged every year in the U.S. alone. Designs continue to evolve, but heart and floral themes remain as common as they had been in Victorian times.
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