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But how did this celebration first originate? Like many other festivities, everything stems from a legend: the story of Saint Valentine.
In the third century AD, Claudius II reigned over the Roman Empire. During this era, the early Christians were persecuted and punished with the death penalty; nevertheless, many of them resisted and remained loyal to their faith.
The emperor considered that married men did not make good soldiers on account of the emotional attachment to their families; he therefore prohibited young soldiers from marrying. Valentinus was a Christian priest who decided to marry young lovers in secret, which ultimately led to his imprisonment.
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The jailer who guarded him could see that the future saint was a learned man, so he asked him to teach his young blind daughter Julia. Julia’s greatest wish was to see, so Valentinus knelt down beside her, they joined hands in prayer and, miraculously, Julia regained her eyesight.
Valentinus was finally executed on 14 February in the year 270, not without first writing a letter to Julia that he signed “from your Valentine”. It is said that the tradition of sending a signed card to the person you love stems from here.
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