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Saint Valentine's key is a charm used in the province of Padua, Italy. It is a metal key named after Saint Valentine, the patron saint of love and marriage, but also believed to offer a cure for epilepsy, traditionally known as "Saint Valentine's Malady". It was once common in southern Germany, eastern Switzerland, Austria, and northern Italy to appeal to him to heal the latter condition, known for that reason as Saint Valentine's affliction.
The key is gifted as a romantic symbol and an invitation to "unlock the giver's heart".
In local culture
A special ceremony where children are given small golden Saint Valentine's keys to ward off epilepsy is held at the St. George's Oratory, Padua, a small chapel in Monselice, Padua, on Saint Valentine's Day each year.
- Illes, Judika (11 October 2011). Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints & Sages. HarperCollins. p. 1238. ISBN 978-0-06-209854-2.
Saint picture of saint valentine's keys is invoked for healing as well as love. He protects against fainting and is requested to heal epilepsy and other seizure disorders. In northern Italy, epilepsy was once traditionally known as Saint Valentine's Malady.
- Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, "St Valentine Key, Italy"