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History

February 14th is celebrated as the day of love and romance all over the world in the form of Valentines Day. The celebration is an amalgamation of both ancient Roman as well as Christian traditions. The origin of Valentines Day is veiled under lots of mysteries.

According to some legends, it is believed that Valentine was a priest during Emperor Claudius IIs reign in Rome in third Century. The Emperor outlawed marriages for the young soldiers when he realized that unmarried men make better soldiers than the married men with families. Valentine withstood the decree of Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentines actions were disclosed to the Emperor, he ordered Valentine to be killed.

Another story depicts that Valentine was put to death because he used to help the Christians to escape from the Roman jails where they were tortured and beaten severely.

As per other legends, it was Valentine who sent the first valentine greeting himself. While he was in prison he fell in love with a young girl probably the jailors daughter who visited him during his captivity. It is believed that before his death he wrote a letter to the girl signing From your Valentine which is still widely used.

Some believe that the celebration of Valentines Day started around 270 AD to commemorate the death of Valentine. However other opines that Valentines Day was celebrated to Christianize the pagan festival Lupercalia. The festival was dedicated to Faunus the Roman God of agriculture as well as Romulus and Remus who are the founders of Rome.

The festival begins with the member of Puperci which is an order of the Roman priests gather at the sacred cave where it is believed the founders of Rome were cared by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests then for purification sacrifice a dog and for fertility sacrifice a goat. Afterwards, the boys would slice the goats hide and dip them into the holy blood and used to take them to the streets slapping gently the women and crops. This used to ensure more fertility. During the later half of the day, the young unmarried women used to put their names in a huge urn and the bachelors of the city used to pick up the names to get paired with. This often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared St. Valentines Day on 14th February around 498 AD. The oldest Valentines Day note that exists today is a poem written by Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.