Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day

See History.com for interesting history on a worldwide holiday, all in the name of St. Valentine. Who is this saint? The site describes where these traditions come.  Click on the link to find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday.

A more recent tradition
History.com interesting factoid: Approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

[Editor's note: The description of this holiday would not be complete if we left out the more recent tradition of the national donut chains special Valentine's donuts (noting also, that donuts are not recent)] 

Origins of Valentine's Day: A Pagan Festival in February 

While some believe that Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial--which probably occurred around A.D. 270--others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to "Christianize" the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
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Valentine's Day: A Day of Romance 

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) *** 

Typical Valentine's Day Greetings 

In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. ****

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