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The History of Valentine's Day




     l_CUPID PLAY HARP.gif (18640 bytes)  The History    R_CUPID PLAY HARP.gif (18734 bytes)
                  of Valentines Day

The Story behind St. Valentines Day is a fascinating one. Valentine's Day developed it earlier origins in the Roman festival Lupercalia, observed on Feb. 15. Lupercalia celebrated the coming of Spring in the Roman calendar. Lupercalia became a celebration intended to ensure the fertility of flocks, fields and people.

In AD 496, Pope Gelasius outlawed the pagan festival. But as were many other pagan holidays it was replaced by a Christian holiday thought to be more morally suitable. Pope Gelasius needed a saint to replace Lupercus, the pagan deity. In order to keep the holiday similar to theme of love the Pope chose the martyred Bishop Valentine.

Legend has that Valentine was a third-century priest who defied Emperor Claudius II by helping persecuted Christians. Valentine was thrown in jail and condemned to death. While in prison the priest befriended the jailer, Asterius and his blind daughter. Asterius' daughter befriended the kind priest by bringing food and messages to him. After sometime in prison the priest was ordered to appear before the Emperor. Claudius liked the dignity the young priest possessed and even tried to convert the priest from Christianity to save him from execution.

Before his execution, he healed Asterius' daughter from her blindness and converted the two of them to Christianity. Legend also says that on the eve of his execution, Valentine wrote a farewell letter to the jailer's daughter, whom he had fallen in love with. He signed the letter with a phrase that has endured, "from your Valentine."

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