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Valentine's Day is a celebration that happens on February 14. It is the day of the year when lovers celebrate their love. This can be done by giving flowers, chocolates, Valentine's cards or just a nice gift. Love notes can be given to one another. These notes that people give out are also called valentines. Some people pick one person and call them their "Valentine" as a gesture to show love and appreciation.
Since the 14th century, Valentine's pairs are formed in England. English emigrants then took the Valentine's custom to the United States. After World War II, US soldiers brought this festival to Europe.
In the third century A.D., Valentine was the bishop of Terni (Italy). He performed weddings for couples who were not allowed to get married. They may not have been allowed to get married because the parents did not agree with the connection or because the bridegroom was a soldier or a slave, so the marriage was forbidden. Valentine gave the married couple flowers from his garden. That's why flowers play a very important role on Valentine's Day. This did not please the emperor. On February 14, 269 AD, Valentine was beheaded because of his Christian faith.
An expansion of the legend combines the day of death of Valentine with the Roman festival Lupercalia. It was the festival of the great goddess Lupa, which is the feminine word for wolf. She was the Great She-Wolf who nursed the twin babies, Romulus and Remus, who later became the founders of Rome. During the annual ceremony, the temple priestesses (lupae) wrote their names on strips of papyrus. These were picked by young men. After the lottery, the youngsters walked through the city and got the blessings of the citizens. The martyr Valentine became the patron saint of the lovers. Still in the Middle Ages, as in France or in Belgium, people were chosen by the lottery to live a year with each other and people prayed to Saint Valentine to make love potions and charms.
United States and Europe
In the 19th century, the custom of sending Valentine's Cards became very popular. The cards usually have pictures of hearts or flowers and contain some sort of poem, message, or code. Codes and simple messages give some people the to show their true feelings to the person they love. Today, some people still use mysterious codes to show their love. People can use newspapers to give a coded message to their loved one, giving other readers a view of the couples' intimacy with one another. Sometimes they will give each other chocolates.
Famous for the popularity of the celebration is the folk song called "Die Vogelhochzeit" ("The Birds' Wedding").
In China, a holiday called Qi Xi is also called "Chinese Valentine's Day", especially by younger people. Qi Xi is traditionally held on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. In recent years, it has become more like Valentine's Day in other countries.