08 February 2010

Valentine's Day or Just Another Day to Make Love?

It is not exactly known why the 14th of February is known as Valentine's Day or if the noble Valentine really had any relation to this day. The history of Valentine's Day is impossible to be obtained from any archive and the veil of centuries gone by has made the origin behind this day more difficult to trace. It is only some legends that are our source for the history of Valentine's Day. There may be doubts regarding the actual identity of Valentine, but we know that he really existed because archaeologists have recently unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to a Saint Valentine. 

The holiday has originated from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalis/Lupercalia, a fertility celebration that used to observed annually on February 15. That was centuries before Christ, the pagan Romans celebrated February 15 and the evening of February 14 as an idolatrous and sensuous festival in honor of Lupercus, the "hunter of wolves"?The Romans called the festival the Lupercalia. The custom of exchanging valentines and all the other traditions in honor of Lupercus - the deified hero-hunter of Rome - was also linked anciently with the pagan practice of teenagers "going steady." It usually led to fornication. Today, the custom of teenagers dating only one person on a regular basis is thought very modern. It isn't. It is merely a rebirth of an old custom "handed down from the Roman festival of the Lupercalia, celebrated in the month of February, when names of young women were put into a box and drawn out by men as chance directed.

But the rise of Christianity in Europe saw many pagan holidays being renamed for and dedicated to the early Christian martyrs. Lupercalia was no exception. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius turned Lupercalia into a Christian feast day and set its observance a day earlier, on February 14. He proclaimed February 14 to be the feast day in honor of Saint Valentine, a Roman martyr who lived in the 3rd century. It is this St. Valentine whom the modern Valentine's Day honors. 

If this Valentine's Day is trully the Christian religious matter then why all people who are non-Christians are celebrating it? Isn't it time we examined why people celebrate St. Valentine's Day, when it is never mentioned in the Christian Bible as a practice of the New Testament Church? Today, around the world it is a much-awaited annual holiday which held on February 14 for celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. 

Here in Malaysia the Boleh-Land many lovers are all too often silent about the origin of the Valentine's Day as they're not even sure what to tell. For them it is just about having fun on that lovely day. They just want to please their couple in any possible ways - a day out, dine out, giving presents, do party, go clubbing et al.

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