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The History of Valentine's Day

Every February flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones in the name of St. Valentine. But why do we celebrate this holiday and where did it come from? St. Valentine's Day contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was that Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this holiday? Nowadays the Catholic Church recognizes atleast three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of them were martyred.Valentine wallpapers

One legend states that Valentine was a priest who served during the 3rd century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he stopped marriages. Valentine that realized the injustice, continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered to kill Valentine. Other stories suggest that Valentine was killed for attempting to help Christians escape from Roman prisons.

Valentine actually sent the first valentine greeting himself according to one legend,. While in prison Valentine fell in love with a young girl who visited him during his confinement. Before his death he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an this expression is still in use today. In Middle Ages Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.Valentine Greetings

The Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated in Great Britainaround the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. Printed cards began to replace written letters by the end of the century. Readymade cards were aneasy way for people to express their feelings. Cheaper postage rates also contributed the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. Esther A. Howland was the first on to sell the mass-produced valentines in America in the 1840s.

More than one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. Approximately 85% of all valentines are purchased by women.