Finding its origins in the Roman Feast of Lupercalia, Saint Valentine's Day was officially recognized by Royal Charter by a love-struck King Henry VIII in 1537. As Christianity spread, this holiday, marked by the drawing of names and the dispensing of love tokens, came to be known as St. Valentine's Day for the Christian martyr whose beheading coincided with the popular mid-February date.

The composing of rhyming love letters and amorous verses on Valentine's Day became customary between the 15th and 17th centuries. By the mid-19th century, commercial valentines, elaborate confections comprised of embossed lace paper and ribbon, were becoming all the rage in England and America.

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