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Who is Valentine?

No one is quite sure exactly who Valentine was. There are at least three and possible eight different Valentines claimed to be the real romantic. The three most likely Valentines were all church martyrs. One was killed with a group of believers and the other two, a priest of Rome and a Bishop of Interamna, beheaded by Emperor Claudius II in 269 A.D. The remains of one of the Valentines is said to be in the church of St. Praxedes in Rome. There are several legends regarding Valentine. He was said to have been imprisoned and while there, cured the jailer's daughter from blindness. Yet another story has him falling in love with the jailer's daughter sending her a letter signed "from your Valentine." However the most likely origin of Valentine's day goes back to the Roman Lupercalia, a feast celebrating the God Lupercus. During that feast, young women would put their names into a box from which young men would draw. This matchmaking process would then enamor the two youth until the next year. Associating the matchmaking feast with the martyrdom of Valentine was convenient because the days were almost identical. Sending love notes on Valentines Day occurred much later. Charles Duc d' Orleans, while imprisoned in the Tower of London, supposedly wrote amorous poems and letters to his wife in 1415. Valentine love notes gradually increased in popularity until their mechanization in 1840. Since 1840, Valentine Cards have become tremendously popular all over the world.

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