Contrary to popular belief, St. Valentine's Day was not created by greeting card companies. It was derived from an ancient Roman festival that celebrated love and romance.  February 14th was the day the Romans believed birds began to mate, so it was on this day that they observed a holiday to honor Juno, the goddess of women and marriage.  The following day, February 15th, began a festival of fertility which would bring young girls and boys together, The Feast of Lupercalia.  On the eve of the festival, names of young girls were put into a jar.  A boy would draw a girls name and they were paired for the duration of Lupercalia.  Often the young couple would fall in love and eventually get married.  During the reign of Emperor Claudius II, Rome was in a state of war and Claudius found men did not want to fight in his army in fear they would abandon their wives and children.  So he decided to cancel all marriages and engagements.  Priest Valentine was a romantic at heart and defied Claudius' orders by secretly marrying couples.  When he was discovered, he was brutally beaten and put to death late in the 3rd century.  After this day, he was named St. Valentine.

St. Valentine