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5th Century, 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 had been beheaded for helping young lovers marry against the wishes of the mad emperor Claudius. Before execution, Valentine himself had fallen in love with his jailer's daughter. He signed his final note to her, "From Your Valentine", a phrase that has lasted through the centuries.

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.

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!"

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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.

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              Valentine's Day Trivia

                 The Love Test

             The Valentine's Day Quiz

        Valentine's Day Coloring Pages

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SPECIAL THANKS:  Granny J Gifs Galore, Karen's Gif Depot, Free Graphics 4 Webbers, Kelly's Romantic Gestures, Becki's Garden of Graphics, Neeceeree's Silk & Satin Backgrounds

 

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