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The story of Saint Valentine
does have a direct link to one or several early saints called Valentine (Figure 1). Many traditions have developed around this holiday, and most likely, multiple traditions were integrated as original records were lost. One of those traditions states that Valentines was a priest in Rome martyred for defying Claudius II, who had decreed his soldiers would not marry. He may have tried to marry soldiers in secret, and when the emperor found out, he had him executed. The heart may have been a symbol of love between the pair, which could have become a love symbol.
Other scholars, however, dispute that an emperor would have ever done such an edict. Another story states Valentine tried to help Christians escape, and he was imprisoned after he was caught. He eventually may have fallen in love with his jailor's daughter, and he sent the first "valentine" to her. He may have greeted her by saying, "Your Valentine," which uses valentine as part of the Valentine Day greeting may have originated. Another idea is that Valentine of Terni, a Christian bishop, was martyred in 273 during persecutions.
====Valentine's Day was a Feast Day====
We do know that Saint Valentine's Day was a feast day that likely celebrated a Christian saint and had developed when Pope Gelasius in the late 5th century CE declared that February 14th would be the feast day associated with the saint. However, the motives for this and stories
associated with Saint Valentine suggest there may have been some earlier influences on the tradition. We know that many early Christian traditions and feast days were often created to be similar to pagan festivals, as it helped early converts in transitioning to the new religion. Saint Valentine's Day may not have been different.
The Lupercalia celebrations were held on February 15th to honor fertility and are dedicated to the Roman god Faunus. The festival may have also focused on Rome's mythical founding by Romulus and Remus and how a she-wolf raised them. Goats would be sacrificed, and the blood from goats, along with the hide, would be dragged and slapped or sprinkled on crops and women. This would bring women and crops luck infertility. One legend stated that single women and men were sometimes paired in this celebration, and these matches often ended in marriage.
However, some authors dispute its association with love between people. While it is possible that Pope Gelasius by the end of the 5th century CE, saw Lupercalia as un-Christian
and his declaration of Saint Valentine's Day on February 14th may have been intended to replace the pre-Christian holiday by combing some of the ideas of Lupercalia with a saint story, this is also uncertain.<ref>For more on how the Saint Valentine's traditions may have evolved between pre-Christian and later Christian traditions, see: Pogue, C. (1996). T<i>reasury of celebrations</i>. Kelowna, B.C.: Northstone, pg. 132</ref>