What the Bible says about Valentine's Day (2024)

Topical Studies


What the Bible says aboutValentine's Day
(From Forerunner Commentary)

To most people, Valentine's Day would seem to be nothing more than kids exchanging Valentine cards and adults giving chocolates or flowers. But it is harmless only in the eyes of those who do not know any better. As with most worldly festivals with religious overtones, its origins go back long before Christ. And, as we have come to recognize, the Roman Catholic Church "Christianized" it, assimilating pagan beliefs into its own.

Any good encyclopedia or reference material will state where Valentine's Day originated. The American Book of Days by Jan M. Hatch (3rd edition), reads, ". . . association [of Valentine's Day] with lovers is a survival, in Christianized form, of a practice that occurred on February 14, the day before the ancient Roman feast of the Lupercalia. . . " (p. 178).

Holidays and Anniversaries of the World by Laurence Vrdang and Christie N. Donohue, in the article "Valentine's Day," says, "[Valentine's Day is] also believed to be a continuation of the Roman festival of Lupercalia."

The New Standard Encyclopedia, under the article "Valentine," states:

Saint Valentine was an obscure, possibly legendary, martyr who by tradition was put to death by the Romans on February 14, about [AD] 269. This day was made a feast day by the Roman Catholic Church. The date of his death almost coincided with that of the Roman feast of the Lupercalia. . . .The celebration of the two occasions merged.

So Valentine's Day is nothing more than a continuation of Lupercalia.

There is nothing mysterious or secret about this pagan observance, as most of these reference works also have information about Lupercalia. The Encyclopedia Americana, 1996, from the article "Lupercalia," says:

. . . an ancient Roman rite held each February 15 for the fertility god Lupercus. Goats and a dog were sacrificed, and goats' blood was smeared on the foreheads of two young men and wiped off with wool dipped in milk. Young men, wearing only goatskin about their loins, ran around the base of the Palatine hill, striking with goatskin strips any women they met. This was to ease labor for pregnant women and to make the others fertile.

The American Heritage Dictionary, under "Lupercalia," reads, "a fertility festival in ancient Rome, celebrated February 15 in honor of the pastoral god Lupercus." Even the month of February gets its name from this pagan ceremony. The Latin februaue means "to purify" after this so-called "Feast of Purification." Some sources say that the thongs from the skins of sacrificed animals—which the priests used on the evening of February 14 to whip women—were called februa.

Mike Ford
Be My Valentine?

Related Topics: Lupercalia| Pagan Holidays| Valentine| Valentine's Day

Why did the Romans observe the Lupercalia on the 15th in the first place? Nimrod was supposedly born at the winter solstice. In the 21st century BC, the solstice occurred on January 6. As time progressed, however, this date moved earlier every four hundred years or so. In Roman times, Julius Caesar ordered it fixed on December 25. (Today, it falls on December 21.)

In antiquity, the mother of a male child customarily presented herself before her god for purification on the 40th day after giving birth. Remember, the Lupercalia was a "Feast of Purification." Forty days from January 6 is February 15!

Mike Ford
Be My Valentine?

Related Topics: Lupercalia| Valentine's Day| Winter solstice

As far back as documented history goes, we can trace the celebration back to two ancient Roman fertility festivals: a lesser-known one on February 13 called the "Faunalia," in honor of the god Faunus, and the better-known one on February 15 called the "Lupercalia," honoring the god Lupercus. The Romans considered Faunus and Lupercus to be closely related, and some historians even think they are one and the same god, named differently by ancient Italians living in different regions.

The main center of the ancient Lupercalia celebrations was the cave of the Lupercal, on the Palatine Hill in Rome, where Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, were supposedly nursed and brought up by a she-wolf. The Greek word for "wolf" is "lukos," and the Latin name for the gray wolf is canis lupus hence the terms "Lupercal," "Lupercus" and "Lupercalia." Some traditions even say that Romulus and Remus actually instituted the feast of Lupercalia.

Space restrictions forbid going into the details of all the strange rituals that were performed at the Lupercalia, but a few are worth mentioning. One ritual had two young priests running almost naked (this is in mid-February, remember!) around the old city walls, slapping any bystanders they met with thongs cut from animals that had been sacrificed earlier. A smack from one of these thongs was supposed to cure sterility.

Another rite was a purification ceremony held during the Lupercalia at which Roman women were purified by the priests of Pan Lyceus. Please refrain from asking for the details of how this happened! Suffice it to say it should not be repeated in mixed company!

Valentine's Day and Real Love

Related Topics: Faunalia| Lupercalia| Lupercus| Valentine's Day

1 Corinthians 10:19-21

In I Corinthians 10:19-21, the apostle Paul compares mixing paganism with Christianity—syncretism—to worshipping demons. This principle includes giving one's time or interest to things of pagan origin.

As an example, the Bible neither mentions nor espouses Valentine's Day or its practices. However, God informs ancient Israel in Deuteronomy 12:29-31 that He had chosen them to represent true religion, and He warns them not to mix pagan customs with worshipping Him as the one true 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.

Beyond their obvious heathen origins, holidays like Saint Valentine's Day continually secularize, transforming into reflections of the world's present culture and falsifying the religions from which they sprang. Most people in this world, becoming increasingly materialistic, could not care less if Valentine's Day originated in the Roman Lupercalia or early Roman church doctrines. Religion—true, syncretized, or pagan—has little influence on them. All they care about is whether they enjoy the celebration. This apathy about how to worship the true God and its corresponding moral decay is the result of watering down truth, minimizing its authority, and appealing to people's base desires, that is, their human nature (Romans 8:7; I John 2:16).

Even some Christians who reject religious holidays with roots in paganism, like Christmas and Easter, see nothing wrong with holidays like New Year's Day, Valentine's Day, and Halloween despite their pagan origins . Their faulty human reasoning—their rationalization or justification for it—goes like this:

Christmas and Easter must be rejected because they attempt to worship God with pagan customs. The other holidays, though, while people may have once used them to worship God, are now deemed entirely secular. And since God actually forbids using pagan customs to worship Him, we are free to practice pagan worship customs if we are not now using them for worship purposes.

Yet, this bit of twisted logic ignores the fact that God tells the Israelites to eradicate all vestiges of pagan worship from their presence (Deuteronomy 12:2-4), not merely from their worship of Him. Moreover, the New Testament teaches that a Christian's life is to be one of worshipping and honoring God in all we do (I Peter 4:11).

We should see the things in which we participate in the context of bringing glory to Him. This does not mean we cannot have fun; God wants us to enjoy life. But our fun should not be independent of Him (see the principle in Ecclesiastes 11:9). All that we think, say, and do should be to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31)!

No true Christian in good conscience would want to be someone's Valentine, and he certainly would not wish someone a “Happy Valentine's Day!” We must speak the truth in godly love (Ephesians 4:15), not carnal lust. In its fleshly and sensual practices, Valentine's Day falls far short of “worship[ping] the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23).

Martin G. Collins
A Day of Lust, Not Love

Related Topics: Blend of Truth and Paganism| Carnal Human Nature| Casting off Paganism| Christmas| Halloween| Honoring God| Lupercalia| Materialism| Moral Decay| Paganism| Practices Adopted by Pagan Cultures| St. Valentine| Syncretism| Valentine| Valentine's Day

What the Bible says about Valentine's Day (1)
What the Bible says about Valentine's Day (2)

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What the Bible says about Valentine's Day (2024)


What does God say about Valentine's Day? ›

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

What is the biblical story behind Valentine's Day? ›

Possible ancient origins

The "Feast" (Latin: "in natali", lit.: on the birthday) of Saint Valentine originated in Christendom and has been marked by the Western Church of Christendom in honour of one of the Christian martyrs named Valentine, as recorded in the 8th-century Gelasian Sacramentary.

What do Christians say about Valentine's Day? ›

But the biblical pattern teaches us that romantic love between husband and wife should be on display often and much. It isn't that celebrating Valentine's Day is too much; it is too little and weak. Christians, live your married years so that you don't need Valentine's Day.

What is the deeper meaning of Valentine's Day? ›

It is about sacrifice and devotion, love and honor, in the face of overwhelming and dangerous odds. While making your Valentine's Day plans, remember St. Valentine who was willing to give his life in pursuit of love and marriage, and ask yourself if you would be willing to do the same for those you profess to love.

What is the truth behind Valentine's Day? ›

Turns out, it was a pretty common name during Late Antiquity. As far as anyone can tell, the Saint Valentine of Valentine's Day was one of two guys preaching the good word in Rome in the third century. One of these two was martyred on February 14th 269, thus giving us the date for his eponymous day.

What is the evil story behind Valentine's day? ›

The most common is that on one February 14 during the 3rd century A.D., a man named Valentine was executed by the Roman Emperor Claudius II after being imprisoned for assisting persecuted Christians and secretly marrying Christian couples in love.

What is Valentine's day spiritually? ›

For Christians, Valentine's Day is a day to celebrate the love of God. That love was shown to us in the life and death of Our Lord and the life and death of martyrs like St. Valentine. This is a love with a depth of commitment that goes deeper than any other love in that it surpasses even the desire to survive.

What does Valentine's day have to do with Jesus? ›

St. Valentine of Terni lived and died for and in Christ and in His Sacred Heart. Of all the Valentine symbols from medieval to modern day Valentine traditions, “the heart” —Jesus's Heart — is the most loving and pure, a heart burning with an incomparable love for each of us.

Why was Valentine considered a hero to Christians? ›

Valentine suffered martyrdom in Africa with several companions, but nothing more is known about him. All three St. Valentines are revered for their heroic love for the Lord and the Church through their martyrdom. The custom of showing love and affection on Valentine's has ties to various legends.

Is it a must to celebrate Valentine's day? ›

In the end, Valentine's day is just a holiday—no one should feel pressured or obligated to celebrate it no matter what their relationship status is. While giving someone gifts and chocolate is a great way of showing love, it certainly isn't the only way.

What is the real meaning of Valentine's day? ›

While the date is meant to honor Saint Valentine's death and burial, which supposedly occurred in mid-February around 270 AD, some historians believe the date could reflect the Catholic Church's attempt to replace the ancient Pagan celebration of Lupercalia — a fertility festival for the pagan agricultural god Faunus — ...

What is the actual point of Valentine's day? ›

St Valentine's Day is an annual festival to celebrate romantic love, friendship and admiration. Every year on 14 February people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family and friends.

What is the symbolism of Valentine's day? ›

A traditional Valentine's Day symbol - the symbol of the heart that is pierced with an arrow symbolises the vulnerability of love. It represents the risk of a lover while confessing his love-bearing a fear of being rejected and breaking his heart.

Does the Bible say about Valentine's Day? ›

As an example, the Bible neither mentions nor espouses Valentine's Day or its practices.

What's the dark secret behind Valentine's Day? ›

One Valentine was a priest in third-century Rome who defied Emperor Claudius II after the ruler outlawed marriage for young men. St. Valentine would perform marriages in secret for young lovers, ultimately leading to his death.

What God is celebrated on Valentine's Day? ›

The original Cupid was the son of Venus, Roman goddess of love and beauty. He himself was a Roman deity associated with lust and love, based on the Greek Eros. In Greece and Rome, both figures were depicted as handsome young men, not as winged infants.

How to spend Valentine's Day with God? ›

4 Ways to Honor God On Valentine's Day
  1. Make a list of the ways He has shown His love for you. The book An “I Love You” Prayer is a perfect starter for this activity, whether you do it by yourself or with your kids. ...
  2. Do good in the world. ...
  3. Read God's Love for You Storybook together. ...
  4. Love each other.

What is the biblical message for February? ›

February is a time to trust more in God, finding comfort in His promises of joy and peace. Verses like Romans 5:5 and Titus 2:13 tell us love never fails. They bring hope through the Holy Spirit. Psalm 31:24 tells us to be strong and courageous, showing how deep faith can be.

What is the Bible verse for February 14? ›

Let us love one another, for love comes from God and every one who loves is a child of God and knows God. He who loves not man does not know God, for God is love. God showed his love for us, for he sent his only Son into the world that through him we might have life.

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