St. Valentine was a Roman priest and physician who was martyred by Emperor Claudius II during the Christian persecution in the third century.
Valentines day has its roots in the Roman festival called Lupercalia. Roman men wore the names of the girls who were to be their partners during the festival, pinned to their sleeves.
Often couples exchanged gifts. Women received jewelry or perfumed gloves. After Lupercalia became a Saints Day honoring St. Valentine, some of the old customs were kept.
In the 17th century a young maiden ate a hard boiled egg and pinned five bay leaves to her pillow before going to sleep on Valentine eve. She believed this would make her dream of her future husband. Later people began to exchange cards instead of presents.
The first Valentines card was written by the Duke of Orleans imprisoned in the tower of London in 1415. He wrote love poems or valentines to his wife. Valentine cards became popular in the US during the civil war.
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