Christian Custom? -- or Pagan Holiday
by Dr. Herman L. Hoeh
WHERE DID St. Valentines Day come from?
You might suppose school teachers educators would know. But do they? How many of you were ever taught the real origin of Valentines Day? - were ever told in school why you should observe the custom of exchanging valentines?
The Silence of Educators
Teachers are all too often silent about the origin of the customs they are forced to teach in todays schools! If they were to speak out, many would lose their jobs!
Isnt it time we examined why we encourage our children to celebrate St. Valentines Day - when it is never mentioned in the Bible as a practice of the New Testament Church?
Today, candymakers unload tons of heart-shaped red boxes for February 14, while millions of the younger set are annually exchanging valentines. Florists consider February 14 - St. Valentines Day - as one of their best business days. And young lovers pair off - at least for a dance or two - at St. Valentines balls.
Why? Where did these customs originate? Where do we find any such practices in the Bible? How did we come to inherit these customs?
A Christian Custom?
Did you know that 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 teen-agers "going steady." It usually led to fornication. Today, the custom of "going steady" is thought very modern. It isnt. 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." Thats the admission of the Encyclopedia Americana, article, "St. Valentines Day."
When Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire there was some talk in church circles of discarding this pagan free-for-all. But the Roman citizens wouldnt hear of it! So it was agreed that the holiday would continue as it was, except for the more grossly sensual observances.
It was not until the reign of Pope Gelasius that the holiday became a "Christian" custom. "As far back as 496, Pope Gelasius changed Lupercalia on February 15 to St. Valentines Day on February 14." (p. 172 of Customs and Holidays Around the World by Lavinia Dobler).
But how did this pagan festival acquire the name of "St. Valentines Day"? And why is the little naked Cupid of the pagan Roman so often associated today with February 14? And why do little children and young people still cut out hearts and send them on a day in honor of Lupercus the hunter of wolves? Why have we supposed these pagan customs in honor of a false god are Christians?
Who Was the Original "St. Valentine"?
Valentine was a common Roman name. Roman parents often gave the name of their children in honor of the famous man who was first called Valentine in antiquity. That famous man was Lupercus, the hunter. But who was Lupercus? - and why should he have also borne the name Valentine among the heathen Romans?
The Greeks called Lupercus by the name of "Pan". The Semites called Pan "Baul," according to the Classical Dictionaries. Baal - mentioned so often in the Bible - was merely another name for Nimrod, "the mighty hunter" (Genesis 10:9) It was a common proverb of ancient time that Nimrod was "the MIGHTY hunter before the Lord." Nimrod was their hero - their strong man - their VALENTINE!
How plain that the original Valentine was Nimrod, the mighty hunter of wolves. Yet another of Nimrods names was "Sanctuc" or "Santa", meaning "Saint. It was a common title of any hero-god. No wonder that the Roman Lupercalia is called "St. Valentines Day"!
But why do we associate HEARTS on a day in honor of Nimrod - the Baal of the Phoenicians and Semites?
The surprising answer is that the pagan Romans acquired the symbol of the heart from the Babylonians. In the Babylonian tongue the word for heart was "bal" (see Youngs or Strongs Concordance). The heart - bal - was merely a symbol of Nimrod - the Baal! or Lord of the Babylonians!
Executed at Rome
Nimrod - the original St. Valentine - was also known as Saturn, the Roman-Babylonian god who hid from his pursuers in a secret place. The Latin word Saturn is derived from the Semiticspeaking Babylonians. It means "be hid," "hide self," "secret," "conceal." The original Semitic (Hebrew) word, from which the Latin Saturn is derived, is used 83 times in the Old Testament (see Youngs Concordance under "Sathar," also "sether").
According to ancient tradition, Saturn (Nimrod) fled from his pursuers to Italy. The Apenine mountains of Italy were anciently named the mountains of Nembrod or Nimrod. Nimrod briefly hid out at the site where Rome was later built. The ancient name of Rome, before it was rebuilt in 753 B.C., was Saturnia - the site of Saturns (Nimrods) hiding. There he was found and slain for his crimes. Later, professing Christians in Constantines day made Nimrod - the St. Valentine of the heathen- a Saint of the Church and continued to honor him under the name of a Christian martyr.
Why February 14?
But why should the Romans have chosen February 15 and the evening of February 14 to honor Lupercus - the Nimrod of the Bible? (Remember that day in ancient times began at sunset the evening before.)
Nimrod - Baal or sun god of the ancient pagans - was said to have been born at the winter solstice. In ancient time the solstice occurred on January 6 and his birthday therefore was celebrated on December 25 and now called Christmas. It was the custom of antiquity for, the mother of a male child to present herself for purification on the fortieth day after January 6 - Nimrods original birthdate - takes us to February 15, the celebration of which began on the evening of February 14 - the Lupercalia or St. Valentines Day.
On this day in February, Semiramis, the mother of Nimrod, was said to have been purified and to have appeared for the first time in public with her son as the original "mother and child."
The Roman month February, in fact, derives its name from the februa which the Roman priests used in the rites celebrated on St. Valentines Day. The febru were thongs from the skins of sacrificial animals used in rites of purification on the evening of February 14.
Cupid Makes His Appearance
Another name for the child Nimrod was "Cupid" - meaning "desire" (Encyclopedia Britannica, art., "Cupid"). It is said that when Nimrods mother saw him, she lusted after him - she desired him. Nimrod became her Cupid - her desired one - and later her Valentine! So evil was Nimrods mother that it is said she married her own son! Inscribed on the monuments of ancient Egypt are inscriptions that Nimrod (the Egyptians called him Osiris) was "the husband of his mother."
As Nimrod grew up, he became the child-hero of many women who desired him. He was their Cupid! In the Book of Daniel he is called the "desire of women" (Dan. 11:37). Moffatt translates the word as Tammuz - a babylonian name of Nimrod. He provoked so many women to jealousy that an idol of him was often called the "image of jealousy" (Ezekiel 8:5). Nimrod, the hunter, was also their Valentine - their strong or mighty her! No wonder the pagans commemorated their hero-hunter Nimrod, or Baal, by sending heartshaped love tokens to one another on the evening of February 14 as a symbol of him.
Nimrod, the mulatto son of Cush the Ethiopian, was later a source of embarrassment to the pagans of Europe. They didnt want an African to worship. Consequently, they substituted a supposed son of Nimrod, a white child name Horus, born after the death of Nimrod. This white child then became a "fair Cupid" of European tradition.
It is about time we examined these foolish customs of the pagans now falsely labeled Christian. It is time we quit this Roman and Babylonian foolishness - this idolatry - and get back to the faith of Christ delivered once for all time.
Lets stop teaching our children these pagan customs in memory of Baal the sun god - the original St. Valentine - and teach them instead what the Bible really says!