When we were small children, we’d often use the word “why”—usually in the form of a question, directed at a person older than us. And each answer, it seemed, triggered another question—another why. But as we grew older, our curiosity began to wane. We stopped asking why so frequently. What was the reason? Was it because we thought we knew everything at that point? No, we became comfortable with the status quo. Most of us began to accept things the way they are—without question.
And so it is with the holiday we are fast approaching on February 14, 2010 – Valentine’s Day — a day which supposedly celebrates love and affection between couples by giving flowers and sending greeting cards.
But since there’s no biblical basis for its observance, we must look to secular history to determine its origin.
Centuries before Christ, the Romans celebrated the evenings of February 14 and 15 (named “Lupercalia)” as an idolatrous and sensuous festival in honor of Lupercus, the “hunter of wolves.” This pagan free-for-all was to be done away with when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, but the general public would have none of it, and so only the more grossly sensual observances were toned down.
Modern tradition says that this holiday is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. But the fact is that by this time, the holiday had BECOME a “Christian” custom, appropriating the name St. Valentine in place of Lupercus (Lavinia Dobler, Customs and Holidays Around the World). (more…)