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02-14   Print  E-mail
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On February 14, Americans celebrate love and friendship by exchanging cards, flowers, and candy. Although the origins of Valentine's Day are murky, ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, a spring festival, on the fifteenth of February. Like so many holidays, a Christian gloss was added to the pagan fete when the holiday moved to the fourteenth of February--the saint day associated with several early Christian martyrs named Valentine.

The romance we associate with Valentine's Day may spring from the medieval belief that birds select their mates on February 14th. During the Middle Ages, lovers recited verse or prose to one another in honor of the day.

Probably the first greeting cards, handmade valentines appeared in the 16th century. Mass production of cards began as early as 1800. Initially hand-tinted by factory workers, by the early twentieth century even fancy lace and ribbon strewn cards were created by machine.

Romance abounds in American Memory. Entertain your Valentine with the following digitized delights:

 

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