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Feb 14, 2013 7:15 PM by Christina Favuzzi, KSBY Staff

History of Valentine's Day

The typical Valentine's Day often include flowers, candy, and a fancy dinner. But there's a historical side to the love holiday too.

V-Day's roots originate from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, says Discovery News. Lupercalia was a fertility celebration marked annually on February 15.

However, the festival was seen as pagan and was frowned upon by the Catholic Church.

Pope Gelasius banned Lupercalia in 496 and instead declared February 14 as Saint Valentine's Day.

But according to History.com, it's unclear who exactly St. Valentine was.

The Catholic Church associates three different saints with the name Valentine or Valentinus, all of them being martyrs, but it is unknown which one of the saints is responsible for sparking the holiday.

Historians believe that love became associated with the holiday in the 14th century when Valentine, a priest, performed secret marriages. This broke a law that said married men made poor soldiers, therefore young men should remain single. Valentine was eventually caught and sent to prison.

History.com says:

"According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today."

Valentine's Day gained popularity throughout the 17th and 18th centuries but it wasn't until the 1840s that Valentine's Day cards became a tradition of the holiday.

About 150 million Valentine's Day cards are given annually, making V-Day the second most popular card holiday after Christmas.

By the 1950s, exchanging gifts became a common tradition of Valentine's Day.

According to the National Retail Federation, flowers are expected to bring in $1.92 billion this year, up from $1.88 billion last year.



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