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The mystery of St. Valentine

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The Catholic Church has recognized at least three different Saint Valentines. They were all martyrs, and are listed in the early martyologies under February 14. St. Valentine of Rome is often associated with Valentine's Day.

St. Valentine of Rome was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. At that time, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than married or engaged men, so he outlawed engagement and marriage for young couples. Realizing the injustice of this law, Valentine secretly married couples. He enjoyed helping them unite. As soon as news about Valentine got to Claudius, Valentine was thrown in jail and was sentenced to death.

Many asked Claudius to free Valentine, but he refused. He locked him up, and he died on February 14, 270. His relics can be found in the Church of Saint Prexedes in Rome.

Patron: affianced couples, bee keepers, betrothed couples, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people

Traditions

The traditions around St. Valentine's Day are a little bit of a mystery. One legend states that Roman boys and girls had little contact with each other. In mid February, they had a celebration where boys drew names of the girls in honor of the fertility goddess, Februata Juno. They were then able to communicate and spend time together. Since this isn't Christian, Pastors baptized this holiday by substituting the names of saints to suppress this practice. They used the name St. Valentine.

Another belief is that birds begin to pair on this date, February 14. The English people in 1477 associated lovers with the feast. Because every bird chooses a mate, they celebrated love and lovers.

On February 14th, nowadays people send messages and trinkets of love.

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