Valentine’s Day Unpacked: Should Christians Celebrate it? 

HOW DID VALENTINE’S DAY BECOME ASSOCIATED WITH LOVE AND ROMANCE?

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

It’s a big business. Millions of Christians and non-Christians celebrate it. They call it Valentine’s Day and it happens every year on the 14th of February.

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A lot of romance and affection is associated with the celebration and people celebrating it always flood the system with red things on the day. They buy hearts, red roses, and greeting cards inscribe with loving words, for their partners i.e. wives, husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends.

Yet as beautiful as it may appear, this holiday opens a can of worms every year in the Christian community. Many believers believe that it began in an effort to honour some Christian martyr named Valentinus, while others hold strongly that far from being associated with any Godly practice, it was a sensuous, idolatrous festival.

The later holds the notion that Romans called it Lupercalia and celebrated it by exchanging “valentines” in honour of the mighty hunter become god Lupercus.

So in order to clear this, let us do a quick rundown of records linked to this holiday.

The history of Valentine’s Day can be traced as far back as 500 A.D.  The original story is linked to three martyrs:

“Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae) Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia…. There’s a third martyr/Valentine who is believed to have died in Africa” –Wikipedia.

According to this, Christian martyrs were referred to as Valentine. It was sort of a title for them, just like  Bishop, Pastor and Reverend. It is believed that the above mentioned Valentines were commemorated and celebrated annually on February 14.`

The original celebration of Valentine’s Day did not have the linkage to romantic love as we see in modern day Valentine’s Day Celebrations. The celebration marked support and affection for the Valentines who even at death held steadfast to their faith and love in God.

So, how did Valentine’s Day become associated with love and romance?

The attachment to romantic love as we see in modern day Valentine’s Day celebration is believed to have come about through a romantic poem which Charles, a Duke of Orleans, wrote to his wife in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer. This, of course, is not the first recorded romantic association with Valentine’s Day.

Chaucer wrote:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day

Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

That’s:

“For this was Saint Valentine’s Day,

When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

Shakespeare also made mention of Valentine’s Day in his Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5(1600-1601).

‘To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,

All in the morning betime,

And I am maid at your window,

To be your Valentine.

The romantic associations mentioned above contributed largely to the established modern romantic association with Valentine’s Day celebrations worldwide.

So having established all this, can we say that Valentine’s Day is for Christians?

This question comes up as a result of the strong stance of some Christian sects against the celebration of Valentine’s Day. Their argument usually, is that Valentine’s Day is paganism and Christians should not be associated with paganism.

Coincidentally, the same Christian sects that condemn the celebration of Valentine’s Day also condemns a number of other celebrations such as Christmas and other national day celebrations of some nations. Someone would ask, ‘So is their argument justified?’

Well, let us check that from the good book called the Bible, God’s official guide to a Christian lifestyle.

Here is what the Bible says on Valentine’s Day celebration:

“Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holiday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” –Colossians 2:16-17.

Simple and clear instruction. Let no man judge you concerning holidays; which ones to celebrate and which ones not to celebrate because these things are only shadows, not real things. Our lives are not based on what we celebrate or what we don’t celebrate, they are based on God, His love and His salvation. Remember, by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Again, Valentine’s Day historically was invented by the Church and so we as Christians have every right to take it up and celebrate it. Of course, the world may be abusing the celebration by some acts of promiscuity, but it won’t hurt if Christians would use it as a moment to show love to one another and also reach out to the world with God’s Word.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong with Christians celebrating Valentine. It all depends on what you on that day. After all, it is also a day that the Lord had made and we will be glad and celebrate it. Make it a point in your heart to make someone feel loved this Valentine.

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