Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine Saint Valentine: Holy Priest of Rome: The date of this Saint Valentine's birth is not known. Along with Saint Marius and his family, Saint Valentine assisted the martyrs during the persecution they suffered under the rule of Claudius II (also known as Claudius the Goth and Claudius the Cruel). In addition, since Rome was at the time involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns, the emperor found it difficult to recruit the male populace into joining his military leagues. Believing this to be because Roman men were adverse to leaving their loved ones or their familes, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements within the City of Rome. Saint Valentine and Saint Marius, however, continued to perform wedding ceremonies in secret. When is was discovered that Saint Valentine was defying the emperor's decree, he was apprehended and dispatched by Claudius to the Prefect of Rome who, being unable to force the saint to renounce Christianity, ordered that Valentine be clubbed, stoned and then beheaded. According to tradition, while Valentine waited in prison for his execution, he corresponded with those under his care by sending letters and love notes to his parishioners.
 It is also believed that while incarcerated, the Bishop fell in love with a young woman who visited him during his confinement. According to some sources, this was the blind daughter (whose name may have been Julia) of of Asterius, the jailer. It is said tht God enabled Valentine to miraculously restore the girl's sight. Popular belief indicates that Valentine's farewell message to his love contained a closing that has now transcended time: "From Your Valentine." The saint was executed on February 14 in either 269 A.D. or 270 A.D. In 270 A.D., Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole in the saint's memory at a location once known as Porta Valentini and now called Porta del Popolo. The relic bones of this Saint Valentine, who may also have been a physician, are now housed within the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome.

Saint Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day is a saints day commemorating Saint Valentine on February 14. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other; sending Valentine's cards, donating to charity or gifting candy. It is very common to present flowers on Valentine's Day. The holiday is named after two men, both Christian martyrs among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines." Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The mid-nineteenth century Valentine's Day trade was a harbinger of further commercialized holidays in the United States to follow. The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. Until 1969, the Catholic Church formally recognized eleven Valentine's Days. The Valentines honored on February 14 are:

Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae): a priest in Rome who suffered martyrdom about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. His relics are at the Church of Saint Praxed in Rome.  and at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.
Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae): He became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been killed during the persecution of Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino).
The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of 14 February. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him.

Some sources say the Valentine linked to romance is Valentine of Rome, others say Valentine of Terni.[citation needed] Some scholars (such as the Bollandists[citation needed]) have concluded that the two were originally the same person. In any case, no romantic elements are present in the original Early Medieval biographies of either of these martyrs.

An overview of attested traditions relevant to the holiday is presented below, with the legends about Valentine himself discussed in the end.

February fertility festivals
Though popular modern sources link unspecified Graeco-Roman February holidays alleged to be devoted to fertility and love to St Valentine's Day, Jack Oruch has demonstrated that prior to Chaucer, no links between the Saints named Valentinus and romantic love existed. Thus whether or not in the ancient Athenian calendar, the period between mid-January and mid-February was the month of Gamelion, was dedicated to the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera is immaterial.

In Ancient Rome, February 15 was Lupercalia, an archaic rite connected to fertility, without overtones of romance. Plutarch wrote:

Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.

The word Lupercalia comes from lupus, or wolf, so the holiday may be connected with the legendary wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus. Priests of this cult, luperci would travel to the lupercal, the cave where the she-wolf who reared Romulus and Remus allegedly lived, and sacrifice animals (two goats and a dog). The blood would then be scattered in the streets, to bring fertility and keep the wolves away from the fields.  Lupercalia was a festival local to the city of Rome. The more general Festival of Juno Februa, meaning "Juno the purifier "or "the chaste Juno," was celebrated on February 13-14. Pope Gelasius I (492-496) abolished Lupercalia.

Saint Valentine: Bishop of Interamna: This Saint Valentine is said to have been scourged, imprisoned and beheaded by Placidus, Prefect of Interanma. The relic bones of this Saint Valentine are housed in a basilica in Terni, a town in Italy which hails Saint Valentine as its Patron Saint. It is believed that the saint, who lived in the Third Century, dedicated his life to the Christian community of Terni, becoming the first Bishop of the town. Adored by the populace, the fame of Saint Valentine's holiness and miracles reached Rome, his name being linked with love because, according to legend, he was the first religious personage to oversee the celebration of marriage between a pagan man and a Christian woman. Sentenced to death in Rome, he was martyred on February 14 along the Via Flaminia and swiftly buried in order to prevent rioting by the Christians. It is said that three of Saint Valentine's disciples managed to find the body, transferring it to Terni, where the remains were interred within a sacred place. The Basilica of Saint Valentino was later erected in the same location to honor the saint and invoke his protection and blessing. Every year on February 14, the town of Terni now hosts exhibitions, fairs and cultural events which attract many tourists to the area.

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