In modern America and most of the World, Valentine celebrates romantic love. Valentine's Day is traditionally associated with red hearts, romance, flowers, candy or other sweet things that express love. The name Valentine is a unisex given name derived from the Roman family name Valentinus, which was derived from the Latin word valens, which means "strong and healthy." It was also the name of several saints of the Roman Catholic Church. St. Valentine's Day was named for a third-century martyr (Wikepedia).  The first Valentine's Day was in the year 496! Having a particular Valentine's Day is a very old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman festival.

But, the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody, and a bit muddled.
According to NPR - From Feb. 13 to 15 way back then, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain. The Roman romantics "were drunk. They were naked," says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile. The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, coupled up for the duration of the festival - or longer, if the match was right.
The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men - both named Valentine  on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day. Thank goodness, we now celebrate Valentines as the time for romantic Love.
Happy Valentine's.

Keep your Loved Ones close all year Long! 

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