Each year I am asked, “What did you do for Valentine’s Day?” Each year I respond in the same way, “Nothing, I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day.”
Some people immediately become hostile while others are quizzical. “Why not?” I am asked.
Recently, a member of my husband’s family, who knows why I do not celebrate Christmas and Easter stated, “Why, it isn’t a religious day?”
My husband graciously waited while this person thought it through a second and exclaimed, “Oh yeah, St. Valentine!”
My husband did not expound any further but honestly, that is not why. Let’s go back and discover the origins of Valentine’s Day and where “Saint” Valentine comes in to play.
The History Channel – http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day
According to the History Channel, the celebration (Lupercalia) was originated in ancient Rome. It was a holiday celebrating Pan, fertility, and the onset of Spring. The church knew the best way to convert pagans to Christianity was to absorb pagan holidays into Christian holy days. Using the name of one, or more, priests and the legends surrounding them, the holiday was renamed Saint Valentine’s Day.
Valentine – 5th Century
The Catholic Encyclopedia states there were at least three priests: “… One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine almost nothing is known except that he met his end in Africa. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14.”
Supposedly, one of these priests defied Roman law by performing marriages for gladiators who were not to be married and tended Christians. We know how Romans treated Christians at the time so the “fact” that a priest was running around doing anything in ancient Rome is suspect. History and myth intertwine and the result is Valentine was put to death. In the 5th century, the church chose to combine the pagan holiday Lupercalia with the date this Valentine (or one of the others) was martyred, February 14th.
So, how is this a bad thing? Let’s take it back to the Bible:
According to Living Church of God, “But why should the Romans have chosen February 15 and the evening of February 14 to honor Lupercus – the Nimrod of the Bible? (Remember that day in ancient times began at sunset the evening before.) Nimrod – Baal or sun god of the ancient pagans – was said to have been born at the winter solstice. In ancient time the solstice occurred on January 6 and his birthday therefore was celebrated on December 25 and now called Christmas. It was the custom of antiquity for, the mother of a male child to present herself for purification on the fortieth day after January 6 – Nimrod’s original birth date – takes us to February 15, the celebration of which began on the evening of February 14 – the Lupercalia or St. Valentine’s Day. On this day in February, Semiramis, the mother of Nimrod, was said to have been purified and to have appeared for the first time in public with her son as the original “mother and child.” The Roman month February, in fact, derives its name from the februa which the Roman priests used in the rites celebrated on St. Valentine’s Day. The febru were thongs from the skins of sacrificial animals used in rites of purification on the evening of February 14.”
Click here for more information about Nimrod and Cupid: http://www.fcogl.org/english/christian_living/valentines_day.htm
Evidence of celebrating Valentine’s Day in the 1700s has arisen. Letters from young men and women declaring love sent on February 14th have been found. In the late 1800s, the holiday became commercialized by large department stores.
So, we went from celebrating Nimrod and his pagan ways to celebrating a mythical priest to a Roman fictionalized cherub. Now, it is not even about the love and sacrifice (alleged) of a man of God, it is about candy, presents, and profane declarations of love. It is “look what I got” and “look what I am getting someone else” and not really about love.
I was recently told by a coworker, “Christmas isn’t a religious holiday.” I said, “You are right.” Valentine’s Day is not either. So, why do I have a problem with that, since I agree? Well, it seems as though where we used to add God to everything and now we have gone to removing God from everything. We are not better off for it. How about we just read the Bible and apply the basic rules (commandments and laws of God)? We need more God in our lives, not less.