Select Text Level:

On February 14, the western world celebrates Valentine’s Day. The holiday may be named for one or more martyred third-century saints, but its origins are a bit murky. It didn’t become a day for lovers until centuries later. Some experts trace the association with romance to Geoffrey Chaucer, who, in his 14th-century poem “The Parlement of Foules,” wrote that birds choose their mates on Valentine’s Day.
 
The tradition of expressing love on Valentine’s Day began in Europe in the Middle Ages and grew in popularity with the advent of mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards in the 19th century. Today, Americans exchange an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards every year—and that’s not including the packaged kind students often trade in school.
 
Valentine’s Day traditions vary from country to country. Chocolate is a popular gift, as are flowers. In the Philippines, local governments host mass wedding ceremonies on Valentine’s Day, sometimes with hundreds of couples. In South Africa, some women pin the name of their partner or crush to their sleeve. In some more conservative countries, however, publicly celebrating Valentine’s Day is discouraged or banned.
associate
Verb

to connect.

Christianity
Noun

religion based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

contentious
Adjective

often leading to argument.

court
Noun

monarch or other noble person and the group of people who serve, advise, and consult with them, or the place where this group meets.

establish
Verb

to form or officially organize.

Islam
Noun

religion based on the words and philosophy of the prophet Mohammed.

Latin America
Noun

South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Middle Ages
Noun

(500-1500) period in European history between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance.

obscure
Adjective

vague or unknown.

saint
Noun

holy person in Christian religions.

thrive
Verb

to develop and be successful.

West
Noun

having to do with the developed nations of Europe and North America.

More Dates in History

February
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28