St. Valentine's Day: Its Real Origins

By COGwriter

Throughout the world, February 14th is often celebrated as "Valentine's Day." What is the truth about "Saint Valentine's Day"? Here is a link to a YouTube video on it Should Christians Observe Valentine's Day?

Notice what a 2008 news item correctly reported about this day:

St. Valentine’s Day — a day to declare your affection for that special someone.

And what did Saint Valentine have to do with love notes and affection? Absolutely nothing! In fact, there’s a good chance he may never have existed. You see, at least according to most accounts, the day was begun by the residents of ancient Rome who wanted to honor the she-wolf that had raised Romulus and Remus. It was Romulus who founded Rome, after killing his brother Remus in a fit of rage. At least that’s the story they’ve been telling over the centuries.

However the Christian church leaders in Rome didn’t like the celebration. Too pagan-like, they said. But, knowing the celebration was too popular for them to end, they gave it some Christian respectability instead. They decided since it coincided with St. Valentine’s feast day they would call it St. Valentine’s 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).

Yet the improperly named magazine, Christianity Today, reported:

Civilizations have celebrated Valentine's Day for millennia, but even so, on February 14, we seem ready to celebrate love once again. Here are some articles on the holiday's Christian history, thoughts on love, and ways to show your Valentine how much you care.

"Civilizations" of the world certainly "have celebrated Valentine's Day for millennia," but real Christians have not. On that page with that claim there was also an ad for "The perfect gift for your Valentine!" How commercially convenient.

The Apostle John was inspired to write:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17, NKJV)

Valentine's Day is a worldly holiday, essentially built upon lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It will pass away, it is not a true Christian holiday.

In 2009, Christianity Today's Valentines from Heaven article began with:

How God reminded nine singles of his love for them on Valentine's Day

Since I'm single, I spent February 14 trying to concentrate on the fact that God is my valentine...(Valentines from Heaven. Christianity Today. http://www.christianitytoday.com/singles/newsletter/responses-valentine.html, viewed 2/12/09)

The above page had an ad that attempted to sell some type of dating service. Would God want to be viewed as a Valentine?

In 2007, Christianity Today's History of Valentine's Day article began with:

St. Valentine was actually two people (that weren't romantically involved) who were martyred on the same day (c. 270). Feasts commemorating them were celebrated on February 14. One was a priest and physician who died in Rome during the persecution of Christians by Claudius II Grothicus. The other was the bishop at Terni, Italy who was also martyred in Rome. Both have been buried at different places along the Flaminian Way (History of Valentine's Day. Christianity Today. 1999. http://www.christianitytoday.com/holidays/valentines/features/history.html, January 31, 2004).

The Christianity Today article above never mentioned the pagan origins of the holiday. The closest it comes is by stating:

So why do people send "valentines" or "love-tokens" to one another on that day? The origin of that tradition is not thought to have any connection with the saint's day. Rather it comes from an early European belief that the second week of February was when birds began to mate. The idea suggests that lovers should probably exchange notes and gifts on February 14 in conjunction with what nature practiced. It then concludes with "Nowadays, Valentine's Day is observed as a special day for love and romance. This topic is one of the oldest, and probably most-discussed, issues in history! As Christians, we know that love originates from God and that God is love (1 John 4:16).

That is the history of Valentine's Day? Is that what Christianity Today believes Christians should know about that day? Are the customs associated with Valentine's Day truly biblical? Or does the Protestant world wish to obscure the truth? Did Christianity Today intentionally leave the whole truth out?

Perhaps.

However, if one looks further, one will realize that although in every recent year Christianity Today tries to sell gifts related to Valentine's Day on the internet, it does have an article that admits the following:

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. Without going too much into it, I'll sum it up as a sexual lottery. Pull names out of a box at random and couple with a young member of the opposite sex. After a year, you 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. Yet, despite knowing that much of the truth, Christianity Today still uses runs one or more articles that promote Valentine's Day.

What are The Origins of Valentine's Day? What is Valentine's Day?

Valentine's Day has its origins in paganism and basically is a holdover of a Spring fertility/fornication holiday.

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 they 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.

Does Valentine's Day sound like a holy festival of love or a pagan holiday of lust?

Valentine Traditions Around the World

There are many traditions associated with Valentine's Day.

Notice the following:

February 14, 2014

Many countries have their own particular traditions and customs on February 14 and here’s a selection:

Italy

Originally, Italians celebrated Valentine’s Day as the Spring Festival…Also, there is a traditionof giving chocolate to loved ones and Italians believe that in this case, size does matter- the bigger the chocolate, the stronger the love you will have.

France

The French like to think of themselves as the most romantic people in the world, and it’s often claimed on Gallic shores that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his life while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415.

United Kingdom

Valentine’s cards are often sent anonymously in the UK, a tradition dating back to Victorian times…

Estonia

Valentine’s Day celebrations in Estonia have their own twist: February 14 is called “Friend’s Day”, so single, lovelorn people don’t feel left out.  http://www.euronews.com/2014/02/14/valentines-day-traditions-around-the-world/

China

couples in China rushed to make their marriages official, as Friday marked both Valentine’s Day and the Chinese Lantern Festival. The two celebrations fall on the same day only once every 19 years.  http://www.voanews.com/content/valentines-day-around-the-world/1851556.html

United States

In the United States, the National Retail Federation expects people to spend more than $17 billion this year on candy, cards, flowers and other mementos marking the occasion.   http://www.voanews.com/content/valentines-day-around-the-world/1851556.html

Valentine’s Day is banned in Saudi Arabia and discouraged in other Islam-dominated lands. But, some still observe it in the Islamic-dominated lands–which is why some have taken steps to reduce the influence of this essentially pagan holiday.

Notice something from NPR:

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled…

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right…

Later, Pope Gelasius I muddled things in the 5th century by combining St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But the festival was more of a theatrical interpretation of what it had once been. Lenski adds, “It was a little more of a drunken revel, but the Christians put clothes back on it. That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.”

Around the same time, the Normans celebrated Galatin’s Day. Galatin meant “lover of women.” That was likely confused with St. Valentine’s Day at some point, in part because they sound alike.  http://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133693152/the-dark-origins-of-valentines-day

While I am glad women are no longer subject to public whipping on this day, the holiday still is not on Christian origin.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The popular customs associated with Saint Valentine's Day undoubtedly had their origin in a conventional belief generally received in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer's Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

For this reason the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing love letters and sending lovers' tokens. (Thurston, Herbert. "St. Valentine." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 14 Feb. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15254a.htm>.)

I would add that the practices began earlier than the Middle Ages with origins in a pagan sexual lottery. At least The Catholic Encyclopedia essentially admits this did not come from the Bible.

As alluded to elsewhere, in countries like the USA, Valentine’s traditions include giving cards, flowers, and chocolate, often with symbols that are supposed to represent Cupid or some type of love.

Here is more information on some of the origins of more recent traditions:

Your Valentine’s Day checklist probably includes chocolates, cards and a dozen red roses. So how did all this start?…Ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia on Feb. 13-15. The feast involved animal sacrifices and whipping women, thought to make them more fertile…

But the first direct connection between St. Valentine’s and the idea of love comes much later, in the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, says Andy Kelly, an English professor at the University of California-Los Angeles, who wrote the book “Chaucer and the Cult of St. Valentine.”

Chaucer, best known for “The Canterbury Tales,” wrote a poem called “Parliament of Foules (Fowls)” in 1381 to honor Richard II’s engagement, Kelly said.

In the poem, St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on May 3 — not Feb. 14 — and represents “the day when all the birds choose their mates for the year,” Kelly told USA TODAY Network.

“Quickly afterwards, within a generation, people took the idea of celebrating of St. Valentine’s as a day of love,” Kelly said.

The St. Valentine whom Chaucer was probably referencing was St. Valentine of Genoa, who died on May 3 and whose feast day was celebrated on May 2, according to Kelly’s book…

Cards

The British Museum in London has a Valentine dated from the 15th century, but it wasn’t until the mid-19th century when Valentine-giving became popular in England, said Ann C. Colley, a distinguished professor of English at SUNY-Buffalo State…

Chocolate

Chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac, said Alexandra Leaf, a culinary educator and founder of Chocolate Tours of New York City, in an interview with USA TODAY Network.

Starting in the 17th century, when cacao beans were first brought to Europe from Mexico and Central America, Europeans associated the food with stories about Montezuma and his many wives, Leaf said…

“There’s a carryover of the aphrodisiac notion that would make it appropriate for Valentine’s Day,” Leaf said…

Cupid

The cherub-faced Cupid we recognize today was originally something quite different.

In the 5th century, the Greek version of Cupid, Eros (the inspiration for the word “erotic”), was depicted as a tall young man, who was “athletic, heroic and had wings,” according to Angeline Chiu…Chiu said Cupid’s transformation into a baby can be credited to Renaissance art…

Red roses

In the 18th century, Charles II of Sweden introduced the idea of flowers symbolizing emotions or messages carrying non-verbal messages, according to ProFlowers.com.

Today, red roses stand for passionate love, pink roses for friendship, white for purity, and both red and white mean unity, said Jennifer Sparks, spokeswoman for the Society of American Florists, in an e-mail to USA TODAY Network.  http://www.freep.com/article/20140214/FEATURES01/302140053/Valentine-s-Day-traditions-explained

Valentine’s Day is not an actual Christian holiday and the traditions and practices do not come from the Bible. In the photo of him encouraging Valentine’s Day at the Vatican shown as http://www.voanews.com/content/valentines-day-around-the-world/1851556.html, Pope Francis was holding a red rose.

Sacred Heart and Pope Francis

Most realize that the 'heart' is a common symbol related to Valentine's Day, as is the pagan deity Cupid.  Back in the 1800s, Alexander Hislop wrote:

In the Church of Rome a new kind of devotion has of late been largely introduced, in which the beads play an important part, and which shows what new and additional strides in the direction of the old Babylonian Paganism the Papacy every day is steadily making. I refer to the "Rosary of the Sacred Heart." It is not very long since the worship of the "Sacred Heart" was first introduced; and now, everywhere it is the favourite worship. It was so in ancient Babylon, as is evident from the Babylonian system as it appeared in Egypt. There also a "Sacred Heart" was venerated. The "Heart" was one of the sacred symbols of Osiris when he was born again, and appeared as Harpocrates, or the infant divinity, * borne in the arms of his mother Isis.

Therefore, the fruit of the Egyptian Persea was peculiarly sacred to him, from its resemblance to the "HUMAN HEART." Hence this infant divinity was frequently represented with a heart, or the heart-shaped fruit of the Persea, in one of his hands. The following extract, from John Bell's criticism on the antiques in the Picture Gallery of Florence, will show that the boyish divinity had been represented elsewhere also in ancient times in the same manner. Speaking of a statue of Cupid, he says it is "a fair, full, fleshy, round boy, in fine and sportive action, tossing back a heart." Thus the boy-god came to be regarded as the "god of the heart," in other words, as Cupid, or the god of love. To identify this infant divinity, with his father "the mighty hunter," he was equipped with "bow and arrows"; and in the hands of the poets, for the amusement of the profane vulgar, this sportive boy-god was celebrated as taking aim with his gold-tipped shafts at the hearts of mankind. His real character, however, as the above statement shows, and as we have seen reason already to conclude, was far higher and of a very different kind. He was the woman's seed. Venus and her son Cupid, then, were none other than the Madonna and the child. Looking at the subject in this light, the real force and meaning of the language will appear, which Virgil puts into the mouth of Venus, when addressing the youthful Cupid:--

"My son, my strength, whose mighty power alone
Controls the thunderer on his awful throne,
To thee thy much afflicted mother flies,
And on thy succour and thy faith relies."

From what we have seen already as to the power and glory of the Goddess Mother being entirely built on the divine character attributed to her Son, the reader must see how exactly this is brought out, when the Son is called "THE STRENGTH" of his Mother. As the boy-god, whose symbol was the heart, was recognised as the god of childhood, this very satisfactorily accounts for one of the peculiar customs of the Romans. Kennett tells us, in his Antiquities, that the Roman youths, in their tender years, used to wear a golden ornament suspended from their necks, called bulla, which was hollow, and heart-shaped. Barker, in his work on Cilicia, while admitting that the Roman bulla was heart-shaped, further states, that "it was usual at the birth of a child to name it after some divine personage, who was supposed to receive it under his care"; but that the "name was not retained beyond infancy, when the bulla was given up." Who so likely to be the god under whose guardianship the Roman children were put, as the god under one or other of his many names whose express symbol they wore, and who, while he was recognised as the great and mighty war-god, who also exhibited himself in his favourite form as a little child?

The veneration of the "sacred heart" seems also to have extended to India, for there Vishnu, the Mediatorial god, in one of his forms, with the mark of the wound in his foot, in consequence of which he died, and for which such lamentation is annually made, is represented as wearing a heart suspended on his breast. It is asked, How came it that the "Heart" became the recognised symbol of the Child of the great Mother? The answer is, "The Heart" in Chaldee is "BEL"; and as, at first, after the check given to idolatry, almost all the most important elements of the Chaldean system were introduced under a veil, so under that veil they continued to be shrouded from the gaze of the uninitiated, after the first reason--the reason of fear--had long ceased to operate. Now, the worship of the "Sacred Heart" was just, under a symbol, the worship of the "Sacred Bel," that mighty one of Babylon, who had died a martyr for idolatry; for Harpocrates, or Horus, the infant god, was regarded as Bel, born again. That this was in very deed the case, the following extract from Taylor, in one of his notes to his translation of the Orphic Hymns, will show. "While Bacchus," says he, was "beholding himself" with admiration "in a mirror, he was miserably torn to pieces by the Titans, who, not content with this cruelty, first boiled his members in water, and afterwards roasted them in the fire; but while they were tasting his flesh thus dressed, Jupiter, excited by the steam, and perceiving the cruelty of the deed, hurled his thunder at the Titans, but committed his members to Apollo, the brother of Bacchus, that they might be properly interred. And this being performed, Dionysius [i.e., Bacchus], (whose HEART, during his laceration, was snatched away by Minerva and preserved) by a new REGENERATION, again emerged, and he being restored to his pristine life and integrity, afterwards filled up the number of the gods." This surely shows, in a striking light, the peculiar sacredness of the heart of Bacchus; and that the regeneration of his heart has the very meaning I have attached to it--viz., the new birth or new incarnation of Nimrod or Bel. When Bel, however was born again as a child, he was, as we have seen, represented as an incarnation of the sun. Therefore, to indicate his connection with the fiery and burning sun, the "sacred heart" was frequently represented as a "heart of flame." So the "Sacred Heart" of Rome is actually worshipped as a flaming heart, as may be seen on the rosaries devoted to that worship. Of what use, then, is it to say that the "Sacred Heart" which Rome worships is called by the name of "Jesus," when not only is the devotion given to a material image borrowed from the worship of the Babylonian Antichrist, but when the attributes ascribed to that "Jesus" are not the attributes of the living and loving Saviour, but the genuine attributes of the ancient Moloch or Bel? (Hislop A.  The Two Babylons, pp. 188-191)

One thing that Alexander Hislop failed to mention was that although the 'sacred heart,' Cupid, and certain other symbols associated with Valentine's Day came from paganism, is the reason why the Church of Rome became more focused on the 'immaculate heart of Mary' when it did (see also Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).

The basic reason was because of testimonies of various ones who claimed to see apparitions of Mary.  The 'sacred heart' of Mary is tied in with a variety of Catholic prophecies which are mainly tied in with messages that Marian apparition allegedly gave.  Basically, they teach that 'Mary' will help turn the world into a 'Catholic' faith in the end time and if not, destruction will come.

As it turns out, Pope Francis is highly Marian focused (see Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?).  He also has made various pronouncements related to Valentine's Day in 2014--including encouraging Spanish speakers to celebrate it.

Why is that unusual? Well because, The Catholic Church no longer officially honors St. Valentine, but the holiday has both Roman and Catholic roots. (The Origins of St. Valentine's Day. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/ValentinesDay/, January 31, 2004). This Pontiff has seeming changed that direction

Notice something that is scheduled to occur on February 14, 2014, and did occur:

(Vatican Radio) Thousands of young couples are expected to join Pope Francis in the Vatican on Valentine’s Day Friday, February 14th to celebrate “The Joy of ‘Yes’ forever.” So many young people will descend on the Vatican that the Pontifical Council for the Family organizing the audience has announced that it will no longer be held in the Paul VI Hall as previously planned, but in St. Peter’s Square...

In a note, the Pontifical Council for the Family states that there are already more than 17,000 young people signed up for the audience with the Pope. Organizers say the numbers of engaged couples who will actually attend the audience is “unpredictable,” and that Pope Francis has welcomed the idea to hold the event in the Square so that many more young couples can be accommodated.  http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/02/07/thousands_of_couples_expected_to_celebrate_valentine%E2%80%99s_day_with_pope/en1-771010 

Love was in the air in Vatican City as an estimated 25,000 young people, all of whom are engaged couples preparing for marriage, met with Pope Francis for a special St. Valentine’s day audience. The event, which was promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Family, was filled with music and dancing prior to the Holy Father’s arrival. http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-meets-with-over-10-000-engaged-couples

Pagan symbols and pagan holidays are not God's tools to reach people. True Christians need to avoid participating in pagan holidays, such as Valentine's Day. Turning towards Cupid's or Mary's heart is not what the world needs (more on Mary's so-called immaculate heart is in the article Origin of the Marian Dogmas).

The world needs the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Valentine's observances and other distractions turn people away from the true Jesus and more towards a faith that is against what Jesus stood for.

More on the Origins of Lubercus, Now Known as St. Valentine's Day

Notice the following:

The Feast of Lubercus 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 Lubercus, 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).

Anyway, the preceding article mentions those three as the possible origins of Valentine's day. Actually all three of those are to some degree correct (and World Book Online, in its article Valentine's Day--which I checked on February 6, 2004--says that some believe that all three played a role in the origins)--Valentine's day was a pagan holiday that the Catholic Church modified and that most Protestants embrace, which is probably why some Europeans also declared that to be the day the birds mated (birds mate pretty much every day in some part of Europe, so its seems disingenuous to coincidentally declare it on February 14).

Thus, much of Christianity Today's version of the "History of Valentine's Day" appears to be a selective Protestant fantasy.

But the most likely beginning of the "holiday" seems to have to do with the beginning of the Roman Empire, and probably is prior to the third century:

Archaeologists say they have unearthed Lupercale-the sacred cave where, according to legend, a she-wolf nursed the twin founders of Rome and where the city itself was born.

The long-lost underground chamber was found beneath the remains of Emperor Augustus' palace on the Palatine, a 230-foot-tall (70-meter-tall) hill in the center of the city...

According to myth, Lupercale is where a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the war god Mars and mortal priestess Rhea Silvia, who had been abandoned in a cradle on the bank of the Tiber River...

Every year on February 15 ancient priests killed a dog and two goats and smeared the foreheads of two boys from noble families with the sacrificial blood as part of the Lupercalia celebration. (Valsecchi, Maria Cristina. Sacred Cave of Rome's Founders Discovered, Archaeologists Say. National Geographic News. January 26, 2007. January 26, 2007. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/01/070126-rome-palatine.html)

Of course, the story of Romulus and Remus is really the fable about the beginning of the Roman Empire--now that Europe is once again trying to revive this empire, I am sure that its leaders are pleased to have located "the sacred cave."

Similar to A. Hislop, another source has attempted to tie this holiday in with Nimrod, 'the mighty hunter" of Genesis 10:8-9:

Yates tracked the Roman feast back to its origin, stating that Valentine's Day had originated as a pagan festival honoring the birth of Nimrod under the name of Lupercus, meaning hunter of wolves. On this day in ancient Babylon, the evening of February 14th on the Christian calendar, the Babylonian Queen Semiramis proclaimed a celebration in honor of her son Nimrod who she had married (Dan Strickenberger, Jim Pitts. The Signs of the Sun Matrix. AuthorHouse, 2008, p. 13)

Presuming that is correct, Nimrod may have been the original 'Valentine.'

Is Valentine's Day A Holiday in Honor of "The Queen of Heaven"?

Another source adds:

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).

A holiday for the queen of heaven!

What does God say about that?

...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).

In other words, God was not happy that people wanted to worship the queen of heaven and He would punish them for it.

Another source mentioned,

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).

No matter if Valentine's is the Feast of Lupercus/Lubercus or Queen of Heaven Juno or both (which it probably is) it is NOT listed as a Feast of the LORD (see Leviticus 23).

(Furthermore, Jesus' mother Mary is also not the Queen of Heaven, for details, please see the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.)

Are Those Who Advocate Valentine's Day Like the Valentinians of Old?

Look at was written about the group known as the Valentinians prior to the third Century:

The Valentinians, who are no doubt a very large body of heretics-comprising as they do so many apostates from the truth, who have a propensity for fables, and no discipline to deter them (therefrom) care for nothing so much as to obscure what they preach, if indeed they (can be said to) preach who obscure their doctrine. The officiousness with which they guard their doctrine is an officiousness which betrays their guilt. Their disgrace is proclaimed in the very earnestness with which they maintain their religious system...By the help of the sacred names and titles and arguments of true religion, they have fabricated the vainest and foulest figment for men's pliant liking...Not even to their own disciples do they commit a secret before they have made sure of them. They have the knack of persuading men before instructing them (Against the Valentinians. This treatise is professedly taken from the writings of Justin, Miltiades, Irenaeus, and Proculus. [Translated by Dr. Roberts.] )

Is this not what the Protestant and Catholic worlds now do? Do they not have a propensity for fables? Did not Christianity Today obscure what they preach about 'Saint' Valentine's Day? Is this not a disgrace? By placing the biblical title 'Saint' as part of its title have they not fabricated the vainest figment for men's liking?

Many members of the Church hierarchy were Valentinus' followers, and the ordinary Christians had great difficulty to distinguish between the true Christian priests and the Valentinian Gnostics since their doctrine was so similar. The main difference resided in the Valentinian's different vision of the nature of God; this vision was incompatible with the structure and rule of the clergy that was emerging in the Catholic church. The Valentinians resisted this change and the Orthodox Christians imposed it" (The History of Jesus Christ: 7.2 Christian Doctrine. http://www.nullens.org/jesus/chapter7/jch72.htm, January 31, 2004). It may also be of interest to note that, "The chief sacrament of the Valentinians seems to have been that of the bridal chamber (VALENTINUS AND VALENTINIANS. http://57.1911encyclopedia.org/V/VA/VALENTINUS_AND_VALENTINIANS.htm, January 31, 2004).

Perhaps I should add that Valentinus is the first one to write that God existed in three hypostases--which is now a major part of the doctrine about the trinity.

Furthermore, it should be mentioned that in Valentinus' theology all emanations from the heavenly Father are pairs of beings with male and female attributes. This has important psychological implications. Sexual pairing represents a state of submission, interdependence, and wholeness that makes possible the peace and bliss of Heaven...upon conversion Valentinian Christians {so-called} took part in sacraments that culminated in a divine marriage ceremony in which they were spiritually married to angels (Kingt A. Primitive Christianity in Crisis, 2nd ed. A.R.K. Research, Antioch (CA), 2003).

The 'angels' in a sense were the converts' "Valentine."

Thus, it is possible that the Valentinians MAY have had some influence in getting this 'holiday.' (It should be noted that the Roman Catholics claim there were three saint Valentines, and the holiday name probably came from one of them.) Even if the followers of Valentinus had no effect on this day, the day certainly reflects some of their basic ideas.

Does God Approve of Using Pagan Practices to Worship Him?

Valentine's Day and its trappings are related to pagan idolatry. Yet, many ignore that.

Notice that the Bible repeatedly warns against using pagan practices to worship God:

29 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, 30 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.' 31 "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. 32 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).

2 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. 3 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).

Notice also want the New Testament teaches:

...abstain from things offered to idols (Acts 15:29, NKJV).

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

9 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. (1 Corinthians 10:19-21)

But because most who profess Christianity do not heed these warnings, they are disobeying God's instructions. You can also watch a YouTube video about this titled Should Christians Observe Valentine's Day?

Dear Abby My Boyfriend Does Not Give Me Presents on Valentine's Day

A reader sent me in the following:

February 10, 2014

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 1/2 years, living together for two. He says Valentine's Day is a made-up holiday to get people to spend money. I told him every holiday is geared toward people spending money. I find myself feeling angry and hurt that I'm not receiving anything for Valentine's Day. He never buys cards or flowers for me. How do I communicate to him that this is important to me without making things worse? -- CRAVING A LITTLE ROMANCE

DEAR CRAVING: Your boyfriend may be cheap, but he also has a point. According to a report on npr.org, the celebration of Valentine's Day started in ancient Rome and contains elements of both Christian and pre-Christian religions. In the third century A.D., two men named Valentine were executed by the emperor Claudius II in different years on Feb. 14, and a few hundred years later, a pope (Gelasius I) combined St. Valentine's Day with Lupercalia -- a fertility feast -- to replace the pagan ritual. (Research this online if you wish, because I found it fascinating.) The holiday didn't become romanticized until the Renaissance.

That said, allow me to point out that there are few things more unpleasant than feeling forced to give someone a gift.

'Abby' had several helpful points that all should consider. The woman that wrote her the question, should also consider the following scripture:

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Her lust for the things of the world is not Christian.

Adopting Pagan Holidays Supports Islamic Positions!

Muslims have concerns about Valentine's Day. They have condemned it, and they sometimes also condemn what they understand to be 'Christianity' because of it.

Look at some of what the Muslims say about Valentine's Day:

ISTANBUL: The Mufti’s Office in the Black Sea province of Rize has sent mosques in the city a text condemning Valentine’s Day, which will be read by imams during their Friday sermon.

The special day falls on Friday this year, the Muslim holy day and the day on which imams give weekly sermons to the community. The text sent by the Mufti’s Office explains that there is no Valentine’s Day in Islam.

“In our religious ideology, there is no Valentine’s Day, because you cannot assign a day for love. The love for which a day is assigned is a lost treasure. The best gift to our dear spouses is our heart, full of love and loyalty. The most beautiful bouquet is a warm heart and a smiling face,” the sermon stated.

“In a world where betrayal and violence have been rising, how much is the fictional Valentine’s Day worth?” it added.  http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/rize-muftis-office-to-condemn-valentines-day-in-friday-speech-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=61771&NewsCatID=393 January 29, 2014

Celebrating the Valentine Day is not permissible because: Firstly, it is an innovated holiday that has no basis in the Sharee`ah...Christians were aware of the Pagan roots of Valentine's Day. The way the Christians adopted St. Valentine's Day should be a lesson for Muslims. In fact, the failure to fully separate Valentine's Day from its pagan roots explains why Islamic scholars and a number of Muslims avoid adopting traditions of non-Muslims, even though they could possibly be Islamicized...We should avoid anything associated with pagan immoral practices -...- Islam does not encourage flirting or suggestions of romantic relationships before marriage - Love between families, friends and married people does not need to be celebrated on a day with such un-Islamic origins (Ruling on Celebrating Valentine's Day. http://www.contactpakistan.com/news/news144.htm, January 31, 2004).

What is the ruling on Valentine’s Day?...Firstly: Valentine’s Day is a jaahili Roman festival, which continued to be celebrated until after the Romans became Christian. This festival became connected with the saint known as Valentine who was sentenced to death on 14 February 270 CE. The kuffaar still celebrate this festival, during which immorality and evil are practised widely...Secondly: It is not permissible for a Muslim to celebrate any of the festivals of the kuffaar, because festivals come under the heading of shar’i issues which are to be based on the sound texts...Partially joining in, at the very least, is disobedience and sin...it is not permissible to celebrate the festivals of the ignorant and the mushrikeen (polytheists). (fatwa No. 73007. What is the ruling on Valentine’s Day? http://islamqa.info/en/ref/73007 viewed 02/04/12)

Terengganu PAS deputy publicity chief Azman Shapawi Abd Rani said any celebration must be completely stopped as it could lead to immoral activities “between men and women without any legal ties.”

“PAS will take action to discourage Muslims from celebrating Valentine’s Day as it goes against their morality,” he said...

The Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs had in 2005 decreed that celebrating Valentine’s Day was forbidden in Islam as it could lead to moral decadence. (PAS to go on campaign to discourage Muslims from celebrating Valentine’s Day. The Star, February 1, 2013. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/2/1/nation/12656262&sec=nation)

In Pakistan. Turkey, and other Islamic-dominated lands, steps to minimize its impact have been taken:

Conservatives in Pakistan tacked up posters urging people to boycott Valentine's Day on Thursday, saying it's a western-inspired event that's spreading vulgarity in their country...

For them, Valentine's Day is nothing but an occasion to encourage illicit relations between the country's young — unmarried — males and females. It's a sign that Western culture and values are eating away the fabric of Pakistan's traditional, Islamic society. Valentine's Day, they say, is not a Pakistani holiday and not part of the culture here...

—In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, government officials and clerics in Jakarta called for young people to skip Valentine's Day, saying it was an excuse for couples to have forbidden sex. Santana R. Valentine's Day under attack in Pakistan. AP, Febuary 14, 201.3 http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2013/02/14/valentines-day-under-attack-in-pakistan)

Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, or PEMRA, sent a letter to TV and radio stations reminding them that the holiday is “not in conformity to our religious and cultural ethos.” The report warns that “a large segment of society” has complained about “Valentine’s Day celebrations” and blames Valentine’s Day for “depraving, corrupting and injuring morality of Pakistani youth.”...

The letter begins:

It is generally observed that in the past “Valentine’s Day” is celebrated on February 14 by all the satellite TV channels whether an Entertainment or News & Current Affairs channel. PEMRA has been receiving complaints from a large segment of society that Valentine’s Day celebrations are not in conformity to our religious and cultural ethos and has, therefore, condemned its unequivocal propagation through media. Furthermore, such events have been perceived as a source of depraving, corrupting and injuring morality of Pakistani youth as well as violating Code of Conduct developed by PEMRA in pursuance of Rule 15 & PEMRA Rules 2009. (Dewey C. Pakistani regulator warns media against promoting Valentine’s DayWashington Post, Febuary 14, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/14/pakistani-regulator-warns-media-against-promoting-valentines-day/

Notice that because of sexual immortality associated with Valentine's Day, many of the states in Malaysia have taken proactive steps to try to stop sinning then:

PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi said the Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor governments have directed all local authorities to work closely with police and Rela in order to carry out operations to check immoral activities during Valentine’s Day...He said the National Fatwa Council forbids Muslims from celebrating Valentine’s Day because of elements of Christianity and sin. (Move on Valentine’s Day ‘sins’ Malaysia Star – Feb 8, 2011. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/2/9/nation/8024821&sec=nation)

KUALA LUMPUR - More than 300 volunteers between 19 to 25 years-old today joined a programme to make Muslims wary of the importance of not celebrating Valentine's Day.

Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director of Family, Social and Community Division, Saimah Mokhtar hopes parents take the ban on Valentine's Day celebration seriously as it has elements of Christianity and mixed with vices forbidden by Islam.

The programme called "Jerat Hari Valentine" (Valentine's Day Trap) targets several locations in Kuala Lumpur, said Jakim director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha. (Bernama. Now Jakim wants parents to ban Valentine's Day celebration. Malaysian Chronicle. February 3, 2013. http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=51672:now-jakim-wants-parents-to-ban-valentines-day-celebration&Itemid=2)

Notice that many of the Muslims associate Valentine's Day with Christianity (obviously the false compromising kind) and sin.

In other words, Valentine's Day causes the name of Christ (through the term 'Christianity') to be blasphemed among the Gentiles (Romans 2:24; Isaiah 52:5)!

Even some the Muslims can see the hypocrisy in this.

How does this pagan holiday directly help get the true gospel out?

It does not.

And that is the point. Valentine's Day includes elements of paganism, idolatry, and sexual immorality. Notice what the Bible teaches:

22...You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written. (Romans 2:22-24)

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18, KJV)

1...there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

Does not the observance of Valentine's Day contribute to blasphemy by the Gentiles (at least many of the Muslim ones) because many who profess Christ keep it? This should never be. Here is a link to a YouTube video on this subject as well Should Christians Observe Valentine's Day?

Concluding Comments: What is the true meaning of Valentine's Day?

What is the true meaning of Valentine's Day? The true meaning of St. Valentine's day is that many people often ignore the instructions of God and embrace paganism in their lives. Not necessarily intentionally, but since the Bible is clear that Satan "deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9), Valentine's Day seems part of his plan to do that. That is the real meaning of Valentine's Day.

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. It is even an example to Muslims of how "Christianity" (falsely called) is sinful--this is no way to get the good news of Jesus out.

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--if you consider yourself a Christian, do not contribute to blasphemy against the faith.

No professing Christian should take any part in such celebrations.

Here is a link to a YouTube video on this subject as well Should Christians Observe Valentine's Day?

What about Mardi Gras? Here is a link to an article Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival? and a link to a YouTube video Mardi Gras & Carnaval: Are they for Christians?

Back to home page

B. Thiel, Ph.D. Valentine's Day: Its Real Origins. www.cogwriter.com/valentine.htm (c) 2004/2005/2006/2007/2008/2010/2012/2013/2014 0215

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

Is There "An Annual Worship Calendar" In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Should Christians Observe Valentine's Day? This is a YouTube video about the origins of Valentine's Day and why real Christians should not observe it.
Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world's New Year's day.
Is Lent a Christian Holiday? When did it originate? What about Ash Wednesday? If you observe them, do you know why?
Why The Church of God Does Not Wear Green on St. Patrick's Day Should non-Catholics observe a Catholic holiday.
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week? How long are three days and three nights? Did Jesus die on "Good Friday"? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.
Thanksgiving: A Time To Give Thanks and Praise the LORD Is this American holiday appropriate? Why or why not?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? How clearly endorsed Sunday?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?