Where did Valentine's Day come from? Is it wrong for a Christian to celebrate it?

Like many of the world's major holidays, St. Valentine's Day is an annual observance with its roots entrenched firmly in pagan beliefs and customs. What would God think about Valentine's Day?


Answer:
Should Christians Celebrate Valentine
Source: Photos.com

The ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, an annual three-day ritual believed to ward off evil spirits and increase fertility, was held on February 13 to 15.

Lupercalia (also known as Februatio, which is where we get the name for our month of February) was popular among many of the new converts to the quick-rising Catholic Church, and as Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays notes, "Everywhere that [mainstream] Christians came into power they immediately adapted the holidays and customs of the people to their own creed” (Robert J. Myers and the editors of Hallmark Cards, 1972, pp. 50-51).

Such was their course of action with this festival of Lupercalia. While Pope Gelasius officially condemned the pagan Roman festival and banned its observance at the end of the fifth century, many of its accompanying practices quickly appeared in a newly established holiday added by him to the official church list of feast days in A.D. 496—St. Valentine's Day.

Soon, people were no longer looking to obtain fertility by being beaten with strips of animal skin called februa. Instead, they turned their focus to St. Valentine, the patron saint of "engaged couples and anyone wishing to marry" (Celebrations, pp. 48-49), whose actual identity is even murkier than what connection he bore to romance.

What amounted to a renamed, refurbished Lupercalia then picked up steam, gradually adapting itself into the Valentine's Day we know today, which included the added elements of Valentine cards and Cupid, the Roman god of erotic love.

Friendship and sending cards are wonderful things, and God is not opposed to romance at the right time in the right way. But does the pagan religious history of Valentine's Day taint the modern practices? What does God have to say about observing pagan traditions, renamed or not?

"When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess…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... Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (Deuteronomy:12:29-32).

Though the practices of Lupercalia have been repackaged and dressed up in the form of Valentine's Day, these verses indicate they remain just as detestable as they have always been in our Creator's eyes. Instead of pagan days and practices, our focus should be on the Holy Days God has given us in the Bible, which point us toward His amazing and incomparable plan for all of humanity.

For more information, please read the free Bible study guide  "Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? "

 

 

 


Speedemon0202

Speedemon0202's picture

Personally, I feel this interpretation is absurd. The scripture referenced outlines how we should not worship the gods of a foreign land if we move there. I have never heard, nor will I believe that God forbids us to promote a day of love, goodwill and kindness for any reason. The God I know wants nothing more for us to love one another and be charitable.

I can't imagine God detesting a day of love when love was all that Jesus taught us. Are we to shun any day not given to us as Holy in the Bible? If so, then the Catholic Holy Days of Obligation require investigation.

I believe God's instructions were very simple and often times over-complicated by man; honor God in all you do, obey his commandments, love one another.
I believe that if a person sticks to these principles that Jesus taught us, they will live a life that is pleasing to God.

Mike




Skip

Skip's picture

Hi Speed,

I see your point.
And if it were up to you & me then I guess we could just do what we want.
But there is a God & your opinion & mine don't stack up to very much.
When we realize that, we want to find out what God desires.

In God's Word we learn that there are days we should keep and
days that are empty, hollow, or worse --

We are to stick to principles, but they should be of God, not men.




daveswindows

daveswindows's picture

The writer is right on the money, we should not take practices that are not ordainded by God or in principal. It is ok to love but this kind of love is lust not what is proper. God specifies what days to worship him on all others are irrelevant. Its important to please God not those around us.




Speedemon0202

Speedemon0202's picture

Then please explain to me how the Catholic church's Holy Days of Obligation fit into the equation. By your logic, should we not celebrate someone's birthday? Marriage anniversary? One is just as arbitrary as the other unless we have specific divine guidance.

As I stated previously, I believe God's instructions were very simple and often times over-complicated by man; honor God in all you do, obey his commandments, deal with one another with compassion, love and acceptance.

I believe that if a person sticks to these principles that Jesus taught us, they will live a life that is pleasing to God.
Mike




Skip

Skip's picture

Speedemon0202 (Mike) ,
You ask how the Catholic church's Holy Days of Obligation fit into the equation. I fail to see the connection. We must follow the word of God, not the Roman Catholic Church. Historically the RCC incorporated many pagan festivals into their liturgy and called them Saints' days. That was wrong but after awhile who cared?

God cares! If you tell a person you love them & mean it & will prove it by your actions down the road, that is great!
But if you do it because you were stimulated by an advertisement --
I would say you are being duped!




Mazurand000

Mazurand000's picture

I agree with the author 100%. Because like he said, God wants us to follows his commandments and we are suppose to celebrate what he told us to celebrate. It's just these days people say that it's ok, what's wrong with loving someone and giving them presents? But when you look at the history, this Valentines day wasn't made to worship God. It's like if someone will start saying that holloween is good because what's so bad about just giving kids candy. It's wrong! And we know it. Same thing as this day. It's just people these days try to serve God how they like to, not how the scripture says. So we are suppose to live for God and celebrating this day won't get us close to God, but it might get us close to the person we give the present to. But our main goal in life is to prove to God that we are worthy to live with him forever; and we will prove it to him only if we serve him the way he wants us to.

And about these Catholic traditions, who said that they are doing the right thing? Honestly in my opinion, taking money from people and saying their sins are forgotten is perthedic.




Mazurand000

Mazurand000's picture

I agree with the author 100%. Because like he said, God wants us to follows his commandments and we are suppose to celebrate what he told us to celebrate. It's just these days people say that it's ok, what's wrong with loving someone and giving them presents? But when you look at the history, this Valentines day wasn't made to worship God. It's like if someone will start saying that holloween is good because what's so bad about just giving kids candy. It's wrong! And we know it. Same thing as this day. It's just people these days try to serve God how they like to, not how the scripture says. So we are suppose to live for God and celebrating this day won't get us close to God, but it might get us close to the person we give the present to. But our main goal in life is to prove to God that we are worthy to live with him forever; and we will prove it to him only if we serve him the way he wants us to.

And about these Catholic traditions, who said that they are doing the right thing? Honestly in my opinion, taking money from people and saying their sins are forgotten is perthedic.




vero25

vero25's picture

It's a tradition which if you read the bible God is against sometimes
we want to see or do things the way we want to, it is what it is.
Why wait for one day out of the year to show or express your love
to anyone? I always say this to myself if its not for God then its against God
whether you like it or not valentines day is a man made tradition
which God the God I serve Jesus is against.




Jonathan chirwa

Jonathan chirwa's picture

Mike i think the problem is,you're trying to prove these holidays right by refering to the church(ie Roman Catholic) and not to the Bible. For us to get the truth of the matter we need to refer to the Bible and check what it says about the Holidays to celebrate and[ if need be] those which we are not to. I agree with you that we need to love eachother,and this is what shows the true Christ's disciples[John 13 vs 35],but that is not an excuse that we should be celebrating anything that is painted LOVE. We need to worship God in spirit and in truth[John 4 vs 23].




Jim - Akron Ohio

Jim - Akron Ohio's picture

Despite it's name supposedly honoring a saint (there are at least four possibilities here), I have never thought of this day as a "holy" day. I have always thought of it in a secular sense with no ties to worshiping anything or anyone other than the object of my affection. And, that worship does not in any way supersede nor interfere with my worship of God. Rather, it is with thanksgiving for His gift of human love.




godsmwc

godsmwc's picture

Its not about us But GOD he made us a planet gave us life time is short and its GOD or NOTHING folks ez they cover the faces of there idols [GOD HATES THIS]




Rich K

Rich K's picture

Sorry folks for being slow but I have limited time but I think I have an answer to the question about the catliker days of obligation. They have no counterpart in Gods true doctrine! We must remember the "Mother Church" did not exist until it was invented in the winter of 324-325 under Constantine "Emporer god of Rome" The early churches were sabath keepers as taught by the Apostles, but Constantine seeing the growth of the church he had to take charge to protect Rome by creating the first "FALSE CHURCH/RELIGION" it was at this council of Nicia that did away with Sabath keeping to "prevent the faith from being JEWDIZED??"ie Cathlic Encyclopeia on the Sabath (Jesus was a Jew oops to late) so they had to make new holidays by renaming pagan days to sound Christian when with a little study we know they have nothing to do with the true faith and that is why with all truth and honesty I can say mainstream christianity is FALSE CHRISTIANITY. This is diferent from the false gods that were created by men and then worshiped as false religion is one that teaches a different Jesus than the Apostles taught. And don't forget the Mother Church first perscuted all Sabath keepers not just the Jews.




cupcake123

cupcake123's picture

i think that it does not really matter what the writer of this or the other people commenting has to say about valentine's day because in the end its up to God if he does not quote unquote like the holy or unholy holliday/celebration. if someone would like to take the risk of him not "liking" it then more power to him because what if he does like it. i can personally see both sides of the argument.

kristen :)




Plexium

Plexium's picture

Hello Speed,

I would have to disagree. The issue here is not with St. Valentine, or with dedicating a day to the spirit of Love, but with participating in pagan holidays. In the "mainstream" sense, we still worship Cupid (the Roman God of Erotica) and (whether you notice it or not) participate in traditional pagan rituals when we're celebrating St. Valentine's Day. Changing the name of the day and continuing to participate in the same paganistic rituals and traditions is exactly what Deuteronomy is getting at (I feel).

So, I suppose if we are to continue to celebrate St. Valentine's day, we need to be careful not to perpetuate the traditions that pay tribute to Roman Gods and other dangerous subtleties.

God is Love. If we are to celebrate Love, we should be doing so by praising God for the love that he has provided us with in our lives, rather than paying tribute to the Roman God Cupid by putting him on cards, referencing him, and attempting to participate in traditions that honor Gods other than the Lord of all creation. :)



Login/Register to post comments

More Information

This post has favorited 1 times

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

Printer-friendly version

Got a question?  If you don't see your question here, ask our team of caring, dedicated ministers for a personal answer. (Please allow a week or so for an e-mail response.)

7 + 12 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

© 1995-2014 United Church of God, an International Association | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All correspondence and questions should be sent to info@ucg.org. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to webmaster@ucg.org.



X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading