1. The Real Saint Valentine Is Shrouded In Mystery

Despite the fact that he lived in the third century AD, almost nothing is known about this saint or the life he led. It is not even clear how many holy men named Valentine there were, 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 stories say he performed marriages between soldiers and their beloveds. In Rome throughout that time, this was against the law. Soldiers weren’t allowed to marry. When Valentine was caught, he was imprisoned and put to demise for defying Roman rules.

One other story also includes his imprisonment, but this time for practising his faith and refusing to worship the emperor. While in prison, he became friends with the jailer’s daughter. He prayed for her, and he or she was healed of her maladies. On the night time of his execution, Valentine gave his friend a note to comfort her. It read, quite simply, “From Your Valentine.”

2. Matchmaking Was An Historic Roman Tradition That Preceded Valentine’s Day

Lupercalia was a festival that took place each year in historical Rome between the 13th and fifteenth of February. Its purpose was to cleanse and protect the community. A number of the festival traditions were meant to do away with evil spirits and bless crops.

There was also a matchmaking element to the festivities. Women put their names in an urn. Men picked names from the urn. The couples formed by this lottery system were expected to stay collectively for a year. Surprisingly, many of these random matches resulted in marriages.

Centuries later, this historical celebration merged with the newer tradition of honoring Saint Valentine on February 14. The newer vacation was a lot more subdued, but a few of the festival’s romantic facets carried forward.

3. Valentine Cards Grew to become All The Rage In Victorian England

Within the Middle Ages, noblemen wrote (or hired others to write for them) impassioned love notes to their expensive ones. But it wasn’t until the Victorian Period within the mid-1800s that sending valentine cards turned a well-liked 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. a number of decades later.

With advances in printing technology, cards started to be mass-produced. Today one hundred eighty million valentine cards are exchanged every year in the U.S. alone. Designs continue to evolve, but heart and floral themes stay as standard as they had been in Victorian times.

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