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Valentine Day History

Valentine's Day is a festival to express your love and romance. It falls on February 14 every year and is widely celebrated by the people of all ages. One of the best fact associated with this festival is that it celebrates love in all its forms and is not just restricted only to romantic love. Hence, people celebrate this day by presenting Valentine's Day gifts to their parents, teachers, siblings, friends, sweethearts or anyone special or close to them. Exchanging cards, flowers and chocolates is the most common way to express love.

Various Popular Versions of History of Valentine's Day
There are various stories known behind celebrating Valentine's Day. There has been diverse opinions as to the origin of Valentine's Day. Some of the most well known are mentioned below.

Feast of Lupercal
This festival of love traces its origin ancient Roman Festival when the 'Feast of Lupercal' was celebrated in the honor of the Roman God of Fertility. The day is closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines." According to a time worn custom, on the eve of Lupercalia (14th of Feb) a ritual of 'name drawing' was followed, during which a young man drew the name of a girl from the lot, who was to be his sweetheart for the whole year. Quite often, the couple would fall in love with each other and later marry. The custom lasted for a long time until people felt that the custom was un-Christian and that mates should be chosen by sight, not luck.

Bravery of St. Valentine
Valentine's Day was actually due to the efforts and daring of a priest St Valentine that the festival got its name and clearer meaning. During the reign of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in several bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements because he thought that people did not wish to leave their families. Hence, they did not join army. A romantic priest St. Valentine defied his order, who was then killed on 14th Feb, about 270AD. After his death Valentine was named a Saint. Hence, St Valentine became the patron saint of lovers

Another Version Associated with St. Valentine
As per another story, Valentine attempted to help Christians escape from the Roman prison as they were being tortured and beaten there. According to another version, Valentine fell in love with jailer's daughter who visited him during confinement. Before his death Valentine wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart from the jail and signed ‘From your Valentine'. The expression became quite popular amongst love struck and is still very much in vogue.

Season of Birds Mating
Previously, people held a belief that birds started to look for their mate from February 14. This notion helped to link Valentine's day with love and romance. People began to celebrate Valentine's Day as a day of romance by exchanging love notes and simple gifts such as flower.

Popularity of Valentines Day
Initially, the trend was to send handmade cards to the loved ones. But this was changed in the starting of 19th century and mass-produced cards caught the fancy of the people. Since then, Valentine's day emerges as a festival that celebrates love and not just romantic love. Gradually, Valentine's Day cards are gifted to teachers, parents, friends, siblings and sweethearts. The day has earned popularity in countries across the seven continents and is still growing every year.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre
Valentine's Day Massacre is considered to be one of the most widely publicized incident of gang war in the history. The infamous incident was a result of the rivalry between two notorious criminal gangs of Chicago. One gang was the South Side Italian gang, whose leader was Al ‘Scarface' Capone and the other gang was the North Side Irish gang led by George 'Bugs' Moran. It is said that on February 14, 1929, a well planned massacre was executed inside a warehouse located at 2122 N. Clark Street, where seven of Moran's men lost their lives. It is very starnge though the massacre was much talked about in public but nobody was ever booked for the incident.

The Plan
Al Capone devised the ghastly plan for the Valentine's Day massacre. The motive was to eliminate arch rival Moran. The idea was to influence Moran and his gang to visit a warehouse on North Clark Street on the pretext of buying some whiskey at cheap price. At that time a team of six men in the disguise of police officers would conduct a routine raid and enter the warehouse. During this time Capone were to be away from the scene.

The Massacre on 14th February morning
As per plan, Capone's men entered the warehouse. Two of them dressed as police officers while the remaining four in plain clothes. The two policemen asked Moran's gang members to line up facing the wall. Moran's gang consiting of seven members followed the instructions thinking that they were just harmless policemen who have come to raid the place. Immediately Capone's men shot and killed the men with Thompson submachine guns and the seven men died on the spot.

In order to leave the place without raising suspicion, the men in plain clothes marched out of the wrehouse with their hands raised. Those in police uniform walked behind them. This gave the appearance that the police caught the bootleggers.

However the massacre missed the prime target Moran. When Moran was about to reach, he saw the policemen pulling up near the garage and so he retraced back.

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