So WHY do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Well, since our Tuesday post fell on Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about a bit of the history of the day. Then we can also discuss why so many people might celebrate this holiday. According to my husband, and probably a multitude of others out there, Valentine’s Day is pointless. For me, however, it’s both an opportunity and a reminder…to love and be loved.
Those crazy ancient Romans
Historians aren’t completely sure of the accurate origins of Valentine’s Day, but they have some speculations as to some of the beginnings.
Celebrations on or around February 14th-15th were originally rooted in a pagan Roman festival called Lupercalia. Not surprisingly, these pagan celebrations were pretty crazy. Lots of nudity (amongst other immoral acts I’m sure). Lots of drinking. Animal sacrifices. Then, the weirdest part of this particular celebration included taking strips of the animal hide from the sacrifices and then whipping the women with them. They believed this would make them fertile. I told you…weird.
Now, my grandma was pretty fertile. She had 13 kids. However, I DEFINITELY don’t think she EVER ran around naked letting men whip her with bloody animal hides. Nope. Not my grandma. In fact, she’d probably pass out at just the mention of it! But I digress…
Put your clothes back on, and stop beating women with dead animals!
Later, Pope Gelasius I forbid the celebrations of Lupercalia. Some presume it was Pope Gelasius I who decided to “Christianize” this pagan celebration by declaring February 14th St. Valentine’s Day. It’s believed that this holiday was named after a priest who married couples in secret in spite of a ban against marriages.
In order to boost his army and make better soldiers, Roman Emperor Claudius II forbade young men to marry. Apparently many defied this order. Because of that, legend has it that Valentine was arrested. Some stories say that Valentine was executed on February 14th for his insubordination. Other accounts tell of Valentine being locked in a prison cell and later being visited by the couples he wed. It was said that during their visitations they brought flowers and cards as tokens of appreciation. It is also rumored that while imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Supposedly, before his execution he wrote her a letter and signed it, “Your Valentine”.
Read more on the history of Valentine’s Day at this History.com link.
Click here for a direct YouTube link of the above short History Channel clip on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day…love and romance
It wasn’t until later that the Valentine’s Day holiday routinely became associated with love and romance. As time passed, traditions grew, and Valentine’s Day cards and gifts were among them. The celebration has become a massive consumer holiday generating billions of dollars in sales of cards, candy, flowers and jewelry.
So why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
My husband actually asked this. My answer was simple…because people want to feel loved and share love. This is a designated day to do just that. Yeah, yeah, many of us are hopeless romantics (sometimes even with unrealistic expectations of romance), but that doesn’t mean we can extinguish that fire inside of us that longs for love.
In fact, God made us that way. He created us to share HIS love with us. Just like we crave and desire relationship with others, He craves relationship with us. After all, we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 4:24). So it stands to reason that we would have the same desires that God has…to love and be loved.
Valentine’s Day is a day of love. Whether you are single, married, divorced, engaged…whether you have a “valentine” or not…let this day be a reminder to you that YOU ARE LOVED! Most ardently! You are loved so much that somebody literally laid down their life for you. I guess you could say… Jesus thinks you are to die for! 🙂
Take Some Practical Steps to Celebrate Valentine’s Day:
Only one step today…
- Regardless of your relationship status…tell yourself “I am loved.” Cheesy as it may sound, you will always be God’s valentine! 🙂 To remind yourself (or learn) about the fact that you are unequivocally loved, revisit one or more of these posts:
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.
Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, disrespectful, sarcastic, offensive, or off-topic. By posting on this site you agree to my Comment Policy.
P.S. If you liked this post, you might enjoy receiving new posts delivered right to your inbox each week! Sign up here.
If you know anyone that could benefit from this, please pay it forward! Share this post via the sharing links below. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)