Pope Gelasius I declared February 14 as St. Valentine's Day in the year 496. In Europe, it was celebrated as a day for romance starting in the Middle Ages. Geoffrey Chaucer was perhaps the first to write of its amorous associations, in his 1375 poem Parliament of Foules: "For this was on Seynt Valentyne's day/Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make." And Americans likely exchanged handcrafted Valentines starting in the 1700s.
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