Lovers' holiday celebrated on February 14, the feast day of St. Valentine, one of two 3rd-century Roman martyrs of the same name. St. Valentine is considered the patron of lovers and especially of those unhappily in love. The feast day became a lovers' festival in the 14th century, probably as an extension of pagan love festivals and fertility rites celebrated in mid-February. Today it is marked by the exchange of romantic cards (valentines), flowers, and other gifts.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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