Valentine’s day is a day for the celebration of love. Christianity has its roots in love. So, why should Christians debate over its celebration? Many Christians are against its celebration due to its roots in paganism.
Valentine’s Day does not have one origin. Many churches have come to embrace this day of love. However, some Christians still struggle on where or not February 14 is a day approved by God.
What do we know about St Valentine?
St. Valentine, the person to which the celebration of February 14 is attached is one of disputed origin. There are various accounts and stories surrounding the person St. Valentine.
In all the varying accounts of St Valentine’s background, there seem to be some reoccurring similarity. First that he was a Roman Catholic Priest. Second that he was imprisoned for a crime, the crimes where either conducting marriages for young couples against Roman law or preaching Christ. Third, there is thread of the miracle of healing the blind. Fourth there is also his martyrdom around 469 BC.
Some peculiar accounts includes his encounter, with Emperor Claudius II. While some include the letter he left for the lady he heals before his death “Your Valentine.”
In all the accounts though, very little can be drawn from to compare with what is associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day in our time. Is there therefore another link.
The modern Celebration of Valentine’s Day has been tied to the renaissance, where romantic poetry grew from, and the revival of the use of the name of St Valentine and the date of February 14th (believed to be date of his death) been attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer.
With this assessment of the history and origin of Valentine’s Day, Should it, or should it not be celebrated by Christians?
On the Nay Side
A good number of Christians are of the opinion, that the celebration of St Valentine’s day should not be a practice accepted into the fold. Their arguments vary.
A major argument by Christians, is the fact that the Celebration of Valentine’s Day by Christians would be a form of Idolatry. This could be seen from two angles, the first being the worship of St Valentine, if there ever was one.
Many denomination within the Christian community, are completely opposed to the worship of saints, with the notion that true Sainthood is not something to be conferred by humans. They believe that as long as there are no special days for the likes of Paul, Peter, Stephen and other martyrs, there should not be any for Valentine.
The second form of idolatry is much related to the actual events of February 14 prior to St Valentine’s death, and also to the symbols surrounding. The origin of Lupercalia, tying it to the emergence of Rome, tracing as far back as 6th century B.C. It is considered celebrated in honor of the Roman fertility god Lupercus.
The very common symbol of cupid in Valentine celebration all over the world is also considered idolatrous. Cupid is a roman god who’s alternate personality is Eros in the Greek pantheon. He is related to “stupid love” shooting arrows of desire into the hearts of lovers. His association with Valentine’s Day further connotes idolatry to many Christian Faithful.
Another prominent reason, the celebration of Valentine’s Day, is frowned at, is due to the immoral tendencies that are attached to February 14 in recent times. Valentine’s Day, in some climes, has evolved from a day of love and romance, to one of lust and illicit sex. This immoralities attached to the celebration has further made it appalling to a good number of Christians.
The commercialization of love is also a major factor as to why the celebration is discouraged among some Christians. The season records a high sales of chocolate and other sweets, and a whole lot of gift cards, there is nothing wrong here, but the over commercialization of the period, seems to defeat the purpose of love.
On the flip side.
A good number of Christians are quite comfortable with the celebration of Valentine’s Day and some of their reasons include:
- The celebration of love with moderation.
- The understanding of the fact that the bible neither encouraged nor discouraged setting apart a specific day for the celebration of love.
On the subject of symbols, some Christians believe that interpretations are left to individuals. The celebration of love should be one that is encouraged for everyone, whether Christian or not. Although the celebration of Valentine’s Day seems to be all about romantic. It’s important to note that it also friendships and other kinds of love.
The purpose of Valentine as intended by Pope Gelasius when he set out the date to honor St Valentine, love and Christian marriages. And as thus celebrating it with this intent, would not be considered wrong.
On the question of the symbolisms surrounding Valentine’s Day, it should be noted that according to The Cor Project of 2015, the symbol of the cross in pre-Christian pagan mind according to John Denham in his book “The Non-Christian Cross” was a symbol of life, the union between both sexes, and as thus a sexual symbol.
Needless to say, many symbols carry multiple interpretations, and could be interpreted as the person viewing or using it deems fit, after all, “… the Lord looks at the heart.” 1st Samuel 16:7.
Recognizing first that nowhere in the bible has the celebration or condemnation of the celebration of Valentine’s Day been engraved, and considering that there really are a lot of positives to celebrating love. It would be easier for Christians to settle at this conclusion that “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Romans 14:5