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What is St. Valentines Day
St Valentine's Day is a festival that celebrates love and romance. The festival is being celebrated since ancient times and falls on February 14 every year. There is huge enthusiasm amongst youth to celebrate the occasion. Young boys and girls express love to their sweetheart with an exchange of love notes called Valentine's. Though Valentine's Day has always been associated with romance, in present times Valentine's Day is seen as the festival that celebrates love in all its manifestations. People therefore take opportunity of the day to express love to their parents, siblings, teachers, friends, co-workers or just anyone special to them.

History and Origin of St Valentine's Day
St Valentine's Day festival is said to have originated in pagan times in Rome. At that time people celebrated their annual fertility festival called Feast of Lupercalia in mid-February. A unique custom of the feast was the mating of young boys and girls for a year through a lottery system. Often the couple would fall in love and marry.

A popular legend associated with Valentine's Day narrates the legend of St Valentine - a brave hearted priest who lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. It is said that Claudius engaged Rome in bloody and unpopular battles for which he needed a constant supply of soldiers. Claudius felt that young men were not willing to join army due to their attachment with families. To get rid of this problem, Claudius banned engagements and marriages in Rome. Valentine revolted against this unjustified order of the Emperor by secretly solemnizing marriages of willing couples. When Claudius discovered this defiance, he put Valentine behind bars and he was finally executed on February 14, about 270 AD. For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

By Middle Ages, Saint Valentine became the patron saint of love and lovers in England and France. In 498 AD, when Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to pagan celebration of Feast of Lupercalia, he declared that 14th February, the martyrdom day of St Valentine, be celebrated as St Valentine's Day.

Another theory associated with the origin of Valentine's Day states, romance was linked with Valentine's Day because of the popular belief in England and France during the Middle Ages that birds began to start looking for their mate from 14th February.

Valentine's Day Celebration
Valentine's Day festival is celebrated with huge fanfare and gusto in several countries across the world including US, UK, Canada, Japan, France, China and India. Days before the festival markets wear a festive look. Shops and streets are decorated with Valentine's Day symbols like hearts, red rose, cupid etc. Celebrating Valentine's Day in a traditional manner, people express love to their beloved. The commonest way to do say is with an exchange of cards, flowers, chocolates and other special gifts of love. Couples in love also enjoy a romantic date on the occasion. One can therefore see, parks, restaurants, pubs, malls and cinema halls being thronged by boys and girls holding each other's hand and celebrating love.
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