Today is St Valentine's Day, but we do not know anything really about St Valentine, who is commemorated on it. In fact, there are two saints of the name whose feast is on this day, but it is possible that they were originally the same person. The supposed skull of St Valentine is in the Basilica of Santa Maria de Cosmedin in Rome. The supposed body is in Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin.
Why this date came to be associated with lovers is obscure. Chaucer alludes to St Valentine's Day as the day birds begin to mate, but he may be referring to the feast of another St Valentine.
In Slovenia February 14th is said to be the day birds propose marriage to each other. The practice of sending Valentine cards anonymously through the mail dates from the 19th Century or perhaps the 18th. A superstition had already existed that the first person you saw on St Valentine's Day was the one you would marry. The wife of Samuel Pepys, before she married him, had some painters working in the house in 1662. For fear that she would see one of them and have to marry a painter, she kept her hands over her eyes throughout the day.