By: Ashleigh Clevenger

Valentine’s originally started in Rome, related to the festival of Lupercalia. Lupercalia is a festival related to fertility, celebrated on February 15th. Circa 496, Saint Gelasius I recast the festival as a Christian feast day, which declared February 14th as St Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day wasn’t  related to love until the 14th century and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging homemade cards was common in England. The 1850s is when exchanging gifts and cards became popular in the United States. No one actually knows what Valentine’s Day is actually supposed to honor. In the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three Christian saints by that name. A priest in Rome, a bishop in Terni and, someone who lost their life in Africa. All three Valentine’s were said to have been martyred on February 14th. A lot of scholars believe that the holiday was developed to honor a priest who endured the disfavor of the Roman emperor, Claudius II. All of this was said to have been around 270, after that the factual ends and mythical begins. One legend was that Claudius II had made the marriage of young men illegal because bachelors made better soldiers. Even after the marriage of young men was prohibited, Valentine was secretly marrying young men and eventually was caught and put to death. Another legend is that Valentine fell in love with Claudius’s daughter. Before Valentine was killed, he supposedly sent her a letter signed with “from your Valentine.”

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