In ancient Rome, there was a huge festival every February to protect the people in a village from wolves. Later after the wolves were no longer a problem, people continued to hold the festival because they enjoyed it. During this festival, men would draw names of women in the village. They would then be companions with that woman for the rest of the year. Often this would result to the couple falling in love and marrying. Around the year 270 A.D. the emperor of Rome made marriage illegal. He felt that husbands were bad soldiers because they missed their wives and couldn't concentrate of fighting. A priest named Valentine refused to follow this new law, and he began performing marriages in secret. The emperor was furious when he found out and sentenced Valentine to death. Many believe that Valentine gave his life for love.
Valentine's Day wasn't an important holiday in the United States until the Civil War began in 1860. Thousands of soldiers began sending valentines home to their wives and sweethearts during the long war while they were separated. Now people choose their own companions rather than drawing names randomly from a hat. Sweethearts often send each other gifts and go out together on dates. Often people choose to reveal a secret crush to someone that they really like but had been too shy to tell.
Festival (noun): a huge party
Companions (noun): people you are often with, usually friends
Sweethearts: people who love one another; a couple
Crush (noun): when one person likes another person very much; usually this is only felt by one person and the feeling is not returned by the other person; one-sided love
Cupid (noun): Roman god of love. He has wings and carries a bow and arrow.
When a person is shot by Cupid, that person will fall in love.
Sleepless in Seattle
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Last modified on April 27, 1999.