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Valentine's Day History

posted Mar 30, 2019, 6:09 PM by Bryan Krusniak   [ updated Mar 30, 2019, 6:09 PM ]
PhotoAt the February 13 Rotary Club of Kirksville meeting, fellow member Barbara Smith-Mandell spoke about the history of Valentine’s Day. It dates back to the Roman festival of Lupercalia celebrated on February 15 to bring health and fertility to crops and women. Barbara said there were several early Christian saints named Valentine connected to romantic themes. One was a Roman priest who performed secret marriages. Another was a man who helped prisoners escape who fell in love with a jailer’s daughter and wrote her a letter before he died signing it “from your Valentine” and a third was the bishop of Terni who also performed secret marriages. The St. Valentine whose feast day was February 14 was more popular and celebrating his feast day replaced Lupercalia. St. Valentine was one of the most popular saints in the middle ages. Cards were first printed in the late 1700s and mass produced handmade cards in America date to the 1840s. Hallmark began mass producing affordable printed valentines in 1913 and they became very popular. Barbara Smith-Mandell is pictured with Club President Randy Smith.