* Irene's Country Corner * - Valentine's Day !


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Valentine's Day

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Western European Christian holiday, originally the Roman feast of Lupercalia. It was christianized in memory of the martyrdom of St. Valentine, a Roman priest who was persecuted and imprisoned for helping Christian martyrs.

Believing that the reason why men would not go to war was because they did not want to leave their wives and families, Emperor Claudius II decided to cancel all marriages and engagements. Valentine decided to marry all couples in secret and for this he was arrested by Emperor Claudius II and was kept in prison. It is said that he was often visited by the daughter of a prison guard and they became friends. On the day he died, he left her a farewell note and signed: "From your Valentine". Valentine was beaten to death in Rome on February, 14 269 AD., after refusing to give up the Christian faith.

Valentine's death took place at a time of year when the pagan feast Lupercalia was celebrated. The beheading, which was public, was probably incorporated into the pagan celebration. As Christianity spread throughout the world, Christian priests began to look favorably upon pagan festivals, turning them into Christian celebrations. It is likely that Lupercalia became increasingly associated with St. Valentine and his farewell note to his friend, leading to the eventual popularity of sentimental cards and letters. In 469 A.D. Pope Gelasius set February 14th as a day to honor him.

In England, the celebration of February 14th grew during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries through gift giving. In the Americas, colonists brought with them the customs of Valentine's Day. The holiday was celebrated by the exchange of romantic or comic verse messages called “valentines.” in the beginning, Valentines were manufactured and imported from England, but by mid-century, Worcester, Massachusetts, emerged as a center for the production of valentine cards. Esther Howland (1828-1904), born in Worcester, MA, was a pioneer in the American valentine manufacturing industry and established one of the first commercial valentine enterprises in America in the 1840s.

We don't celebrate the Valentine's Day on February 14th in Brazil, but June 12th is the day all lovers exchange presents. It's an especial day to give cards, flowers and gifts to the person we love and go out for a romantic dinner. This day is called "Dia dos Namorados".

Information obtained at Encarta, Encyclopedia.com and American Antiquarian Society.


 © Irene. Not for download from my personal site. Please, visit Graphics by Irene if you like this graphic. Thank you!

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© Sue. Not for download. Please, visit Country Manor Graphics if you like this graphic.


© Maryvel. Not for download. Please, visit Heartfelt Graphics if you like this graphic.

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This page was created on: January 27th 2001.
Last updated on: January 9th 2006.

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