Valentine's Day falls on February 14, and is the traditional day on which lovers in certain cultures let each other know about their love, commonly by sending Valentine's cards, which are often anonymous.
The history of Valentine's day can be traced back to an obscure Catholic Church feast day, said to be in honor of Saint Valentine.
The day's associations with romantic love arrived after the High Middle Ages, during which the concept of romantic love was formulated.
The association of the middle of February with love and fertility dates to ancient times.
In the calendar of Ancient Athens, the period between mid January and mid February was the month of Gamelion, which was dedicated to the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera.
In Ancient Rome, the day of February 15 was Lupercalia, the festival of Lupercus, the god of fertility, who was represented as half-naked and dressed in goat skins.
As part of the purification ritual, the priests of Lupercus would sacrifice goats to the god, and after drinking wine, they would run through the streets of Rome holding pieces of the goat skin above their heads, touching anyone they met.
Young women especially would come forth voluntarily for the occasion, in the belief that being so touched would render them fruitful and bring easy childbirth.
A 14th century valentine is said to be in the collection of the British Library.
It is probable that many of the legends about St. Valentine were invented during this period.
Among the legends are ones that assert that:
On the evening before St. Valentine was to be martyred for being a Christian, he passed a love note to his jailer's daughter which was signed, "From Your Valentine."
The day is now most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines."
Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid.
Starting in the 19th century, the practice of hand writing notes has largely given way to the exchange of mass-produced greeting cards.
The Greeting Card Association estimates that, world-wide, approximately one billion valentine cards are sent each year.
St. Valentine's Day is the day when birds were believed to mate and sweethearts were chosen by singles.
Today Valentine's Day has a broader and more general function as, not only do our singles take the opportunity to show their interest, but it is also a time when couples renew their vows or restate their love.
To assist you in your quest this Valentine's Day I have included a hand picked selection of wonderful 'love' quotes, a great gift idea in our Magic Tissues, or check out the make it yourself Gift section as well as a number of card graphics that you can print and make.