Valentine's Day
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VALENTINE'S DAY

The history of Valentine's Day goes back to a mysterious, third century saint who suffered a brutal fate. St. Valentine of Terni was martyred in 269 C.E. (or somewhere around then — it kind of depends on what martyrology you're reading). According to legend, the Roman physician and priest was beaten, stoned, and beheaded for the crimes of marrying Christian couples ... and possibly attempting to convert Emperor Claudius II...
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The history of Valentine's Day goes back to a mysterious, third century saint who suffered a brutal fate. St. Valentine of Terni was martyred in 269 C.E. (or somewhere around then — it kind of depends on what martyrology you're reading). According to legend, the Roman physician and priest was beaten, stoned, and beheaded for the crimes of marrying Christian couples ... and possibly attempting to convert Emperor Claudius II...
According to historians, Valentine’s Day is a successor of the ancient Roman feast of Lupercalia dating back to 300BC. Every year between February 13 and February 15, the Romans engaged in celebrations and rituals to honor the coming of spring. One of these rituals involved sacrificing a dog or a goat and using its skin to whip women, an act that was believed to increase their fertility...
Under the rule of Claudius II, the Roman army relied largely on single men. In an effort to save lives, Valentine, who was the bishop of Terni at the time, would wed couples to keep husbands away from war. What a guy, right? Unfortunately for Valentine, the emperor didn't take too kindly to his noble romanticism and beheaded the bishop near the outskirts of Rome. There is also the less violent fable that another man named Valentine was imprisoned by the Romans and sent a letter to a woman he loved with the signature...
He's the charming cherub that appears on Valentine's Day cards, often depicted with a bow and arrow — but how did Cupid become a common symbol of Valentine's Day? According to Time, the figure can actually be traced all the way back to 700 B.C., to the Greek god of love named Eros, who was actually a handsome, immortal man with the intimidating power to make people fall in love. It wasn't until the 4th century BCE that the Romans adopted Eros into the image of a cute little boy with a bow and arrow, naming him 'Cupid.'...
From Feb. 13 to 15, 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...
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