Sunday, February 14, 2016

another pagan holiday

  The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
  While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.  To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.
What does God have to say about observing pagan traditions, renamed or not?  “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess … do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods … Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:29-32).  Though the practices of Lupercalia have been repackaged and dressed up in the form of Valentine’s Day, these verses indicate they remain just as detestable as they have always been in our Creator’s eyes. Instead of pagan days and practices, our focus should be on the festivals God has given us in the Bible, which point us toward His amazing and incomparable plan for all of humanity.

13 comments:

Dizzy-Dick said...

So true, but I celebrate this day because it is my birthday.

Margery Bills said...

Yay, happy birthday Dick. I celebrated my birthday Feb. 10th in San Marcos. Everyone was so nice and I was given a free desert at Cracker Barrel. I hear Golden Coral gives a free meal. I was 77, yay.

Deborah Hall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry G said...

of course there is the niggling issue of the Church and believers condemning a day set aside to show that you care for others.... geeze

Happy bday Dizzy-D and Margery - the best to you!

August said...

Or, perhaps, continually casting Christian traditions as pagan is a way for academic secularists to cut you off from your traditions. Thus modern American amnesiac Christianity is rendered incapable of fending off secular attacks. As an example, an old post of mine, St. Valentine fought for liberty.
I would be less worried about a deep past pagan connection, and more worried about consumerist culture obscuring truth amidst vague sounding smells, tastes, and noises allegedly having to do with love.

Margery Bills said...

Church and State are separate.

Margery Bills said...

Today is Monday. My iPhone says so. Continuing on with the freak show on t.v.

Wyowanderer said...

Omein, John.
I've dispensed with the celebration of Christmas and Easter, and I'm celebrating times that the Creator commands.

pamit said...

So...no Christmas for you, John? Or, are those pagan festivals that were "co-opted" by the church OK? Sheesh.

Happy b-day to Margery and Dizzy and my friend Wesley!

August said...

To me, "Church and State are separate" is a complete non-sequitur to this thread, except perhaps as yet another secularist meme to weaken and divide Christians with.

Phil said...

This post bashing Catholicism is right up there will all those memes you hate John.

Phil said...

Amen

BBC said...

The only good christian is a dead one.