Every year, February 14 is celebrated as the day to celebrate the hearts day or Saint Valentines day.
Is it Biblical to celebrate the Valentines day?
Many people say that this day is a time to declare affection for special someone.
Historically, at least according to most accounts, this day was begun by the residents of Rome who wanted to honor the she-wolf that raised Romulus and Remus. Romulus is the founder of Rome and the killer of his brother Remus. Christian church leaders in Rome didn’t like the celebration and to add Christian respectability, they decided to coincide it with the feast of Saint Valentine and called it St.Valentines day. (Brown P. Origin of Valentine’s Day may surprise us. The Enid News & Eagle, Enid OK, Published: January 16, 2008 12:49 am. http://www.enidnews.com/opinion/local_story_016004906.html viewed 01/17/08).
There are more tales of the “origins” of Valentine’s Day than arrows in Cupid’s quiver. As expected, most have something to do with pagan ritual (pretty much every holiday—from Christmas to Mother’s Day—has something to do with pagan ritual).
Four centuries before Christ, Romans had a day called Lupercalia. The day is to celebrate as a sexual lottery. names were pulled out of a box at random and couple with a young member of the opposite sex. After a year, they get to pick another name (Olsen T. Then Again Maybe Don’t Be My Valentine. Christianity Today. February 12, 1999).
So, Valentine’s Day was originally a sexual lottery according to Christianity Today.
Even the old World Book Encyclopedia (Valentine’s Day. Volume 19. 1966, pp.205-206) states, …the customs of the day have nothing to do with the lives of the saints. They probably come from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia which took place every February 15. The festival honored Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage, and Pan, the god of nature…The Romans celebrated their feast of Lupercalia as a lovers’ festival for young people. Young men and women chose partners for the festival by drawing names from a box…After the spread of Christianity, churchmen tried to give Christian meaning to the pagan festival. In 496, Pope Gelasius changed the Lupercalia festival of February 15 to Saint Valentine’s Day February 14. But the sentimental meaning of the old festival has remained to the present time. Historians disagree about the identity of St. Valentine”.
Furthermore it also states, ”LUPERCALIA…was celebrated on February 15 in honor of Faunus, a rural Italian god. Faunus was later identified with Pan, the god of herds and fertility…Priests…ran around striking all the women the met (Lupercalia. Volume 12. 1966, p.456).
The pagan being named Cupid (a supposed son of Venus) was also involved. According to pagan mythology, anyone being hit by Cupid’s arrow falls in love with the first person he/she sees. One source was bold enough to state, The church replaced elements of various love-gods (Juno Februata, Eros, Cupid, Kama, Priapus) with St. Valentine, an imaginary Christian. A number of contradictory biographies were created for him…By taking over some of the features of the Pagan gods and goddesses, St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers…St. Valentine’s Day can be traced back to Lupercalia, the Roman “festival of sexual license” (ST. VALENTINE AND VALENTINE’S DAY, http://www.religioustolerance.org/valentine1.htm, February 6, 2004).
Notice what the Roman Catholics teach, The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year (The Origins of St. Valentine’s Day. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/ValentinesDay/, January 31, 2004).
It is of interest to note that the same Catholic source states, The Catholic Church no longer officially honors St. Valentine, but the holiday has both Roman and Catholic roots.
The Feast of Lupercus
The first interpretation has this celebration originating as a pagan tradition in the third century. During this time hordes of hungry wolves roamed outside of Rome where shepherds kept their flocks. The God Lupercus, was said to watch over the shepherds and their flocks and keep them from the wolves. Every February the Romans celebrated a feast called Lupercalia to honor Lupercus so that no harm would come to the shepherds and their flocks.
Also during Lupercalia, but in honor of the goddess Juno Februata, the names of young women were put into a box and names were drawn by lot. The boys and girls who were matched would be considered partners for the year, which began in March.
This celebration continued long after wolves were a problem to Rome. — St. Valentine’s Day As Christianity became prevalent, priests attempted to replace old heathen practices. To Christianize the ancient pagan celebration of the Feast of Lupercus, the church officials changed the name to St. Valentine’s Day.
To give the celebration further meaning and eliminate pagan traditions, priests substituted the drawing of Saints names for the names of the girls. On St. Valentine’s Day the priest placed saint’s names into an urn or box. The young people then drew a name from the container.
In the following year, the youth was supposed to emulate the life of the saint whose name he had drawn. By the fourteenth century they reverted back to the use of girl’s names. In the sixteenth century they once again tried to have saintly valentines but it was as unsuccessful as the first attempt. While it can’t be proved historically, there were seven men named Valentine who were honored with feasts on February 14th.
Of these men, two stories link incidents that could have given our present day meaning to St. Valentine’s Day…—-February 14th - The Day the Birds Began to Mate The Europeans also believed that on February 14th the birds began to choose their mates.
In fact Chaucer, in his “Parlement of Foules,” wrote: “For this was Seynt Valentine’s Day when every foul cometh ther to choose his mate”…The tradition of birds choosing their mates on St. Valentine’s Day led to the idea that boys and girls would do the same.
Now when a youth drew a girl’s name, he wore it on his sleeve, and attended and protected her during the following year. This made the girl his valentine and they exchanged love tokens throughout the year. Later this was changed to only men giving love tokens to females, usually without names but signed “with St. Valentine’s Love.”
Later, in France, both sexes drew from the valentine box. A booked called Travels in England, written in 1698, gives an account of the way it was done: On St. Valentine’s Eve an equal number of Maids and Bachelors get together, each writes their true or some feigned name upon separate billets, which they roll up and draw by way of lots, the Maids taking the Men’s billets, and the Men the Maids’; so that each of the young Men lights upon a Girl that he calls his Valentine, and each of the Girls upon a young Man which she calls hers.
By this means each has two Valentines–but the Man sticks faster to the Valentine that is fallen to him than to the Valentine to whom he is fallen. Fortune having thus divided the company into so many couples, the valentines give balls and treats to their mistresses, wear their billets several days upon their bosoms or sleeves, and this little sport ofen ends in Love.
This ceremony is practised differently in different Countries, and according to the freedom or severity of Madame Valentine. This is another kind of Valentine, which is the first young Man or Woman chance throws in your way in the street, or elsewhere . . . (The Origins of Valentine’s Day. http://www.techdirect.com/valentine/origin.html, January 31, 2004).
The roots of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to pagan festivals of third century Rome. February 14th was set aside as a day to honor the goddess Juno, who was the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses and was the goddess of women and marriage. This day was also the eve of the Feast of Lupercalia. This festival was in honor of the god Lubercus (The History of Valentine’s. http://www.christinescyberuniverse.com/VDay/VdayHistory.html, January 31, 2004).
And who was Juno? JUNO was the queen of heaven and wife of Jupiter (Zeus)…The ancient Greeks called her HERA (Juno. World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 11. 1966, pp.162-163).
The Bible says, the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. Do they provoke Me to anger?” says the LORD. “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?” (Jeremiah 7:18-20, NKJV)
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: ‘You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, “We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!’ “Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: ‘Behold, I have sworn by My great name,’ says the LORD, ‘that My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, “The Lord GOD lives.”‘Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them” (Jeremiah 44:25-28, NKJV).
As we can read, God really was not happy to see that people wanted to worship the queen of heaven. This is a punishable act.
The Feast of Lupercalia was celebrated in honor of the God Lupercus, who was said to watch over shepherds and their flocks and kept them safe, since during this time hordes of hungry wolves roamed outside Rome. The festival was celebrated on February 15 at the cave of the Lupercal on the Palatine Hill, where the legendary founders of Rome, the twins Romulus and Remus, were supposed to have been nursed by a wolf.
However, other scholars, while not dismissing the celebration of Lupercalia, prefer to explain the celebration which took place in the middle of February as a celebration to the Goddess Juno Februato. It is to their thinking linked to Valentine’s Day.
While all scholars agree to the time when the practice of men drawing the names of women took place, there do exist slight differences in whose honor the celebrations took place. As time marched on, Christianity steadily gained converts and it became an officially supported religion in the Roman state under Constantine I, who ruled as emperor from AD 324 to 337.
All pagan cults were prohibited in AD 392 by an edict of emperor Theodosius I. At this time, priests attempted to replace old heathen practices. The ancient pagan celebration of the Feast of Lubercus was renamed St. Valentine’s Day .
The priests replaced the practice of having men draw names of girls with having young people draw names of saints. The youths were supposed to emulate the life of the saint whose name they had drawn. The practice of this custom was unsuccessful at first and reverted back to the use of having men draw names of girls (The Myth of the Origin of Valentine’s Day. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/9300/stp.html, January 31, 2004).
God does not approve of using Pagan practices to worship Him. The Bible repeatedly warns against using pagan practices to worship God:
When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it (Deuteronomy 12:29-32, NKJV).
Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe (Jeremiah 10:2-3, KJV)
….abstain from things offered to idols (Acts 15:29, NKJV).
If people who are professing Christians do not heed these warnings, they are deliberately disobeying God’s instructions.
The Bible never indicates that Christians should celebrate anything like St. Valentine’s Day. Thus, the celebration of Valentine’s Day is not enjoined on believers–even if there is some controversy associated with some of the history of it.
The Bible is clear that God is not pleased with activities that honor the ‘Queen of Heaven’.
Valentine’s Day is NOT some attempt to share God’s love. It began as a pagan courtship and sex holiday.
Although it has dropped some of its more direct pagan symbols, even today, the pagan being Cupid is associated with the Valentine holiday. The so-called ‘Christianization’ of non-biblical, pagan celebrations is an affront to God and causes His name to be blasphemed among the Gentiles.
No professing Christian should take any part in such celebrations.