The History of Valentine’s Day
Men dread it, and women await its arrival like one in travail. Many hearts flutter and proportionate amounts are shattered. Elaborate engagements are planned, and many wedding vows are renewed. Love is celebrated. Candies and cards fly off shelves, love ones make time for each other, and the lines to get into a decent restaurant starts around the block. According to Chris Morris of Fortune.com, “many restaurants, knowing the pressure that comes with the holiday, hike their prices to exorbitant levels, knowing they’ll still have to turn people away” (Morris, 2016). Today, on the day of February 14, Saint Valentine’s Day is celebrated. So what is the history of this day? Where are these traditions from? Is this day distinctive on the calendar because of happenchance?
The Nimrod Connection
To get to the root of this celebration, we have to move the clock way back in time—all the way back to Nimrod and his mother-wife, Semiramisis. She taught the people that Nimrod had become the sun god, Baal. Baal too is known by many names and titles. These include Marduk, Horus, Zeus, etc.
The worship of Nimrod and Semiramisis was spread throughout the world when YHWH, confused the tongues of men because of the wickedness behind the Tower of Babel’s construction. As result of this dispersion, the wickedness was in effect spread around the world, albeit in different languages. For example, Semiramisis and Nimrod were now known by different names throughout the world.
In Babylon, they were called Ashtoreth and Tammuz, Isis and Osiris (Horus and Ra) in Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros in Greece, Shing Moo (the Holy Mother) and child in China, and Isi and Iswara (Devaki and Krishna) in India, Frigga and Balder in Scandinavia, just to name a few. The common theme here is that the child was worshiped as both husband and son of the mother goddess (Hislop, 1858).
One of the great cities that Nimrod built was Babylon. In Babylon, they celebrated the festival of Oimbolc. This festival celebrated mid-winter and the return of the sun, or sun god (Baal). The midwinter is the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Beginning on February 2, candles were lit to welcome the sun and the women began their purification process for the upcoming fertility rites of spring (ForsakenBabylon, 2017).
The Romans were Pagans. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a Pagan is “1:HEATHEN; especially: a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome) 2: one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods: an irreligious or hedonistic person” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2016).
The Romans had many gods. As the Roman Empire grew, the nations whose god’s they conquered were frequently added to their roster of gods. The Romans believed that the god’s, or spirits, that they served were present with them. According to PBS.org, “It was believed that the god actually took part in the meal: a place was set for him at the table, invitations were issued in his name, and a portion of the food served was set aside for him to enjoy” (PBS, 2016).
All nations of the earth had numerous gods. They were Pagans. The Hebrews followed the one true god, YHWH. He is the Creator of Heaven and of Earth. The Hebrews, were given numerous laws. Among these laws was a commandment condemning idol worship.
The ancient Romans believed that birds select their mates on February 14. On the day after that, February 15, the Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia (LibraryofCongress, 2018). This was a spring fertility and purification festival. The root word of Lupercalia is lupus. Lupus is a Latin word that means wolf. It is widely acknowledged that the Romans believed in an ancient deity that protected herds from wolves.
This festival was held in honor of the fertility deity, Lupercus. Lupercus in Roman mythology is the god of shepherds. Lupercus is identical to the pagan god Faunus, the pagan god of sheep and shepherds. Faunus is identical to the Greek god Pan and the Celtic god Dusios. During this month, Februus was also celebrated. This was the Roman god of purification. February is named after this Roman god.
The similarities between these creatures are astounding. These creatures were thought to be a half-man, half-goat creature. They were also worshipped as a “mighty hunter.” Where have we seen that before? Nimrod is described in the Scriptures as a mighty hunter before the YHWH. Nimrod built great cities such as Babylon (Genesis10: 8-10). Consequently, when these gods are being celebrated, they are celebrating Baal, Rempham, Chium, Baphomet, etc—representations of Nimrod.
These pagan gods were usually celebrated in merriment. The sounds of the forest was said to be the voice of Faunus (EncyclopædiaBritannica, 2018). Faunus, Pan, and Dusios are all represented as half-man-half-goat creatures in depictions.
The priests of Lupercus were called Luperci. The Lupercalia was led by two priests. At the festival, these men were dressed only in goatskin of the sacrificed animals to represent Lupercus. They would start the festival by sacrificing two goats (for fertility) and a dog (for purification). Professor Leonhard Schmitz of the University of Chicago writes that animals were chosen to be sacrificed “for their strong sexual instinct, and thus were appropriate sacrifices to the god of fertility” (Schmitz, 2016).
The two priests would then be selected to approach the altar. Their heads were then marked (anointed) with the bloodied knife of the sacrificial animals before it was wiped off with wool dipped in milk (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016). The men were expected to smile and laugh at the end of the process. After this, the people feasted on the sacrificial animals.
The Luperci also ate, indulged in wine and covered themselves in the blood of the animals. They also covered themselves in the skin of the goats that they sacrificed to imitate the god Lupercus. They would then run around Palatine Hill. Women, some bare breasted, would then approach them hoping to be “hit upon” with the thongs. These pieces of skin are called thongs, or februa.This they thought would make them more pure, fertile, and cause the child birthing process to be much easier (Schmitz, Lupercalia, 2018). The people at the festival also ate sacred cakes (mola salsa) created by Vestal Virgins with the wheat of the previous harvest (Takács, 2010). Vesta was the Roman goddess of domestic activity.
The Symbols of Valentine’s Day (Lupercalia)
Cupid, Roses and the Heart
The Lupercalia also included the worship of Venus. She was the Roman goddess of beauty, love, fertility, and sexual immortality such as prostitution (Hoena, 2003). Her Greek equivalent is Aphrodite (Garcia, 2013). Venus’ favorite flower is the rose, red roses to be exact. She is thought to ride around in a chariot pulled by white pigeons. Her son was Cupid (Eros in Greek).
The Cupid was given power to cause love to begin and to cease. Cupid is the Roman god of desire, affection, and erotic love. According to Mark Cartwright from Ancient Encyclopedia, “Eros was also considered the protector of homosexual love” (Cartwright, 2013). The cupid, or Eros, will fire his bow at an unsuspecting target with the heart being his target (Cartwright, 2013). The victim would then fall in love with the first person they encounter. Eros, or Cupid, is the Roman Greek equivalent of Tammuz, the reincarnate of Nimrod.
The Hebrews sinned when they worshipped Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:5; 8:14). In the depictions of Tammuz, the heart shaped Egytian Persea fruit was often found in his hand (Hislop, 1858). The Egyptian Persea was sacred to the Egyptians, the same tree we call avocado today. Tammuz became known as the god of the heart, the “Sacred Heart.” Hislop in his book, The Two Babylons, writes, “Roman youths, in their tender years, used to wear a golden ornament suspended from their necks, called bulla, which was hollow, and heart-shaped” (Hislop, 1858, p. 170).
In the Chaldean, the word for heart is bel. The heart symbolizes the child of the great mother. Where do we see such symbolisms today? Hislop writes in his book that the heart represents the image of Moloch, or Bel, the sun god, or fire god (Hislop, 1858, p. 172).
Today, the Catholic Church celebrates Candlemas, or the Purification of the Virgin Mary, on February 2nd. This is celebrated as a day to commemorate the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. According to Alexander Hislop, as a part of the worship of the sun god (Baal), “burning lamps and lighted candles should form part of the worship of that Son” (Hislop, 1858, p. 172).
Some of the other activities of this pagan holiday included the choosing a female partner. Young girls would place their names with a love note into a box. Young men then drew out the names. The “lucky girl” whose name was drawn became the sexual partner with the man for the upcoming year, until the next Lupercalia. March 1 was the beginning of the new year in ancient Rome. At the beginning in March, the fertility rites of the Spring Equinox began.
Let the Blood Flow
Various nations across Europe had rituals that were carried out at this time of the year as it approached the end of winter. The common theme among these festivals was the return of the sun after a brutal winter. According to The Globe Republican, “a French almanac of 1672 says that bloodletting on Saint Valentine’s Day makes the blood clean every night and morning; and that bloodletting on the eve of Saint Valentine’s Day guard against fever for an entire year.
In France, the Normans (Norse) celebrated a day of love as well. This day was called Galatin’s Day. Galatin means “lover of women” (Seipel, 2011). The letter G was oftentimes pronounced with a V sound. Consequently, Galatin was sometimes pronounced “Valatin.”
Imbolc (pronunciations vary) is the festival of lactating sheep for pagans and the pagan goddess Brighid (“exalted one”). This festival celebrates the first signs of spring.
The winter solstice is long gone and the pagans are now seeing that the days are getting gradually longer. This was one of the most important fertility festivals for pagans. Imbolc is a Celtic word that means ‘ewes milk.’ At this time of the year, the ewe is getting ready to give birth.
It was believed that Brighid, the pagan goddess’ snake emerged from the womb of the earth-mother to test the weather. Bridghid, it is believed, is reborn on this day. Hence, this event is also called Brighid’s Day. Pagans honor her memory during this time. They light candles and hearth fires and celebrate the sun’s rays.
Groundhog Day and Candlemas
Imbolc is celebrated on Groundhogs Day. There are various traditions associated with this day. Some of these traditions include Groundhog Day and Candlemas. As the Catholic Church grew across pagan Europe, the Church incorporated popular pagan traditions of the locals to win them over to the new religion of Christianity. These holidays were added into the calendar of the Church and overlayed them with church saints.
Groundhog’s Day is celebrated on the 2nd of February. The presence of the sun represents the continuance of winter for an additional six weeks. Imbolc is one of the eight major pagan heathen Sabbaths. Nine months after this fertility festival is Samhain, or Halloween. Pagans see it as good luck for a child to be born on any of the eight Sabbaths.
The Roman Catholic Church sought to whitewash this holiday and call it Candlemas, or the Feast of the Purification of Mary. This festival falls 40 days after the Eve of the supposed birth of Jesus on December 25. In the Anglican Church, this day is called Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
Emperor Claudius II
Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men. He felt that single men made better soldiers compared to those who were married and had a family. It is said that, Saint Valentine went counter to Claudius’ decree, and in secret, he officiated marriage ceremonies to young lovers. Valentine was put to death after his actions were discovered. He was beaten with cudgels and beheaded (History.com, 2018).
It was Constantine who defeated Licinius, the Pagan Emperor and united the Roman Empire. As a part of this agreement, religious tolerance was agreed upon between them. Therefore, the pagan practices and customs of the Roman Empire were now accepted into this new religion called Christianity. The various councils that were to follow created an established order for such activities. These include the first Council of Nicaea. The Christianizing of Pagan customs were now in overdrive. To get the masses to buy into the Church of Rome—Roman Catholism, the Pagan feasts were now attributed to people called saints (Hislop, 1858, p. 172).
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “In 494 CE the Christian church under Pope Gelasius I appropriated the form of the rite as the Feast of the Purification” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016). He was trying to whitewash the pagan aspects of the festivities with Christian traditions. The Catholic Church tried all they could to hide their pagan roots. The Catholic Church eventually made the long dead valentine a saint and attributed the day before the Lupercalia after him—Saint Valentine’s Day was born. According to Catholic.org, Valentine is the Patron Saint of “affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses and his feast day is celebrated on February 14” (Catholic Online, 2016).
Valentine’s Day is a neo-pagan celebration. It is an ancient fertility celebration that stretches all the way back to Pagan Roman fertility celebrations and even back towards Nimrod worship. For most people, however, it has come to be a day to show love driven by media financed by retailers. On a day dominated by red, retailers see green. The Catholic Church finally gave up on the day in 1969 and dropped it from the Catholic calendar (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2016). Consequently, we can theorize that there is a gradual return to the original pagan roots of this pre spring festival. A festival that was created to honor the pagan gods for fertility and purification was coopted by the Catholic Church and protestant churches alike. These adaptations made this holiday accepted by wide cross sections of nations once ruled by European nations through conquest and colonization. Fueled by the power of American marketing, this holiday is now out of the hands of the Catholic Church or any specific religious authority.
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