Amazing Facts: Valentine's Day
When we send funny or romantic cards to friends on Valentine's Day, we are really celebrating two very different things.
We honor the life of Saint Valentine, a Roman Christian who was jailed and eventually executed for helping other Christians. This happened on February 14, in about the year 270 A.D. It is said that while in jail, Valentine fell in love with the jailer's blind daughter and miraculously restored her sight. Before his execution, he is supposed to have sent her a farewell note (evidently, she had learned to read amazingly quickly) signed "From Your Valentine."
People also believed that birds began mating on February 14. The idea of lovebirds soon became associated with Saint Valentine, and the custom of sending cards or small gifts on his feast day is centuries' old. As for the heart-shape cards: Since ancient times, the heart has symbolized love, both human and divine.
So, get out your red paper, stickers, paste, and colored pencils. But if you look out the window on Valentine's Day, you probably won't see any birds billing and cooing -- unless you live far south of the snow belt.
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