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St. Valentines Day

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Through the ages, many cultures have paused to celebrate love and romance in mid-February. On February 14th almost everyone all over the world receives a card spouting a big red heart, filled with sweet wishes. Valentine's Day is a special day that has been set aside in order to honor "love".

But who was Valentine? This question is not an easy one to answer at all.

Saint Valentine is said to have lived in Rome during the third century. During this time an emperor named Claudius ruled Rome. Wars broke out in the Roman Empire. He expected men to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. So Claudius was having trouble getting men to serve in his army. He believed that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. He ordered that no marriages should be celebrated and that all engagements must be broken off immediately.

Near his palace was a beautiful temple where the priest Valentine served. The Romans loved him dearly and assembled in the temple to hear his words. Valentine was against the new law. And even after the law enforced, he kept performing marriage ceremonies secretly. At last word of Valentine's acts reached the palace and Claudius the Cruel was angry, exceedingly angry. One night he was caught and thrown in jail and told to be put to death.

Many young people came to visit and support Valentine. One was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her visits in the cell. She helped Valentine to keep the spirits up. On the day of his death Valentine wrote a note to the daughter signed "Love from your Valentine". This was on February 14, 269 A. D.

Valentine became the patron saint of lovers. On each February 14, affection, love, and devotion messages are exchanged around the world. In Europe this holiday is celebrated since XII century, in the USA since 1777, in Russia St. Valentine Day has become popular rather lately. Though in the Rus people celebrated the day of love on 8th of June, devoted to love story of Peter and Fevronia.

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