Valentine's Day honors one or two early saints who were called Valentinus. The holiday celebrates romance and romantic love in many places around the world.

Early Rome

Mid-February was traditionally the time of the Lupercian festival, an ode to the God of fertility and a celebration of sensual pleasure, a time to meet and court a prospective mate. In AD 496, Pope Gelasius outlawed the pagan festival. But he was clever to replace it with a a similar celebration, although one deemed morally suitable. He needed a "lovers" saint to replace the pagan deity Lupercus.

The martyred Bishop Valentine was chosen as the patron saint of the new festival.

Saint Valentine of Rome was a 3rd century Roman saint commemorated on February 14th - he was martyred and buried at a cemetery o the Via Flaminia. He was put in prison for performing weddings for soldiers - who were forbidden to marry - and for ministering to Christians where were persecuted under the Roman Empire. The legend says that while he was in prison, Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his judge and that before he was executed wrote the girl a letter signed "Your Valentine" as his farewell. It is unknown if this was one person or an alias used by several. There is little known about Saint Valentine - and in 1969 the Catholic Church removed his name from the General Roman Calendar. However he is still recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Gelasius didn't get everything he wanted. The pagan festival died out, it is true, but he had further hoped people would emulate the lives of saints. Instead they latched onto the more romantic aspect of Saint Valentines religious life. While not immediately as popular as the more passionate pagan festival, eventually the concept of celebrating true love became known as Valentine's Day.

Of course no one knows how much of this is really true!  Most say there's no connection between St Valentine and Lupercus.

Actually according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there are three Saint Valentines who are tied to February 14th. One was a Roman priest, another the bishop of Interamna. They are both buried outside of Rome on the Via Flaminia at different distances from the city. The third was a saint who suffered on the same day with others in the Roman province of Africa. However nothing else is known about him.

However, Valentine's Day and romantic love became linked during the times of Geoffrey Chaucer.  Courtly love flourished in the High Middle Ages.  In 18th century England lovers began to express their feelings for each other much like they do today - with flowers, candy and sweets and 'Valentine's' cards or notes.

The customs and traditions around Valentine's Day differ not only from country to country - but from region to region in many countries!  By the late 1700s the making of Valentine's cards had become more common and a reduction in postal rates brought the sending of Valentines even more popular because it was possible to send Valentine's anonymously.  Paper Valentines became so popular in the early 19th century that they were being manufactured in factories.  Today Valentine's cards are still one of the most popular ways to say 'I love you!"


THE HEART was once thought the vessel of all emotions, but is now generally connected with the emotion of love.

LACE was carried by women as a handkerchief. Sometimes the handkerchief was dropped for a gentleman to pick up and encourage romance. Lace is also used as a romantic decoration.

ringRINGS are given when 2 people decide to marry and in the past, Valentines Day was a popular day for engagements or weddings.

LOVE KNOTS are a series of winding and interlacing loops - no beginning or end - and often have messages, also with no beginning or end, written on them.

cupidCUPID is the god of love and the son of Venus, the goddess of love. He could cause people to fall in love by piercing them with his magic arrows.


              Valentine's Day Trivia

                 The Love Test

             The Valentine's Day Quiz

        Valentine's Day Coloring Pages


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