Valentine’s Day is named after a Christian saint, but just who he was is not clear, for there is more than one contender for the title. One Valentine was a Roman priest who was imprisoned for helping persecuted Christians, and who became a Christian himself. Although he restored the sight of his jailor’s blind daughter, he was still martyred…. on February 14, 269. Another Valentine was also a Christian martyr who, before his death, scratched a message to his beloved on the wall of his cell, ending with the words “Your Valentine.”
As a festival of love, Valentine’s Day has powerful associations with two Roman love fests. The first is the sacred day of Juno Februata, the patroness of the “fever” of love, at the beginning of February…. Then on February 15, there is Lupercalia, a festival of purification and fertility in honor of Faunus, or Lupercus, a rustic fertility god.
– From The Magical Year by Diana Ferguson