Every year, on February 14th, couples across the world celebrate their love for one another by giving candy, flowers, gifts and cards.

Some people really enjoy this day…

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…while others do not.

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But where did this tradition come from?

TimeAndDate.com gives us the real meaning of Valentine’s Day:

“The origins of Valentine’s Day are not clear but many sources believe that it stems from the story of St Valentine, a Roman priest who was martyred on or around February 14 in the year 270 CE. How he became the patron saint of lovers remains a mystery but one theory is that the church used the day of St Valentine’s martyrdom to Christianize the old Roman Lupercalia, a pagan festival held around the middle of February.

The ancient ceremony included putting girls’ names in a box and letting the boys draw them out. Couples would then be paired off until the following year. The Christian church substituted saints’ names for girls’ names in hope that the participant would model his life after the saint whose name he drew. However, it was once again girls’ names that ended up in the box by the 16th century.

Eventually the custom of sending anonymous cards or messages to those whom one admired became the accepted way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. There was an increase in interest in Valentine’s Day, first in the United States and then in Canada, in the mid-19th century. Early versions of Valentine cards fashioned of satin and lace and ornamented with flowers, ribbons, and images of cupids or birds appeared in England in the 1880s.”

Whether you have a significant other or not, be sure to tell someone you love them this Valentine’s Day. Spreading love to those who bring you joy is what this day is all about. Happy Valentine’s Day, JMU!

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