EDITOR: At this time of the year, and more specifically February 14, which is referred to as Valentine’s Day, many claim to be celebrating love. ‘Love is in the air’ they say. Roses, sweets, cards and other gifts are exchanged in the name of ‘love.’ The businessmen and merchants smile, once again (as they do for Christmas and Easter) with the abundance of these delicacies
But have you ever stopped to consider the origin of Valentine’s Day? Do you care to read or do you prefer to blindly follow traditions in the light of readily available knowledge to enlighten your mind? Moreover, have you ever contemplated upon the question of ‘what really is love and how it should be expressed?
So what about Valentine’s Day, how did it originate? There are different theories concerning the origin of the Valentine’s celebration. Upon research of the topic, one thing is certain: the celebration has been derived from the ancient Roman feast festival called Lupercalia.
Lupercalia was in honour of the Roman god of fertility. The festivity involved a ritual of name ‘drawing’in which a young man drew from the lot the name of a girl who was to be his sweetheart for the whole year (usually for sexual pleasure). Since then, this day (Feb 14) has been considered the day of Cupid, the Roman goddess of love.
Through the effort of the Roman church to mix paganism with Christianity in order to accommodate both parties, the day gradually became associated with the feast day of two Roman martyrs both named St. Valentine who lived in the 3rd Century. Despite the church’s effort to ‘Christianize’ the Lupercalia festivity, pleasure seeking and immorality still remain tenets of this celebration.
Undoubtedly, pleasure lovers do not ever desire to imitate even the appearance of holiness. Truth and falsehood cannot mix! So, though the present day celebration has some modifications, the idea of pleasure (usually sexual) is still prevalent.
The 14th February is normally a day when passionate sentiments are aroused, a night filled with physical and emotional expression of these feelings. Emotions ‘run wild’ with provocative attire and atmosphere, conducive to suppression of reason and the exaltation of unsanctified feelings. For many, it is a night that precedes days, months, years or even a lifetime of disappointment.
Many young ladies become disease infected or pregnant. In fact, medical experts show that since a lot of babies are born between November and December, this is indication that most of the conceptions take place around Valentine’s Day.
Having said all of the above, what really is love? Is it a substitute for obedience to the Law of God (as many in the religious world teach)? Is it a fiery feeling or an unrestrained or unintelligent passion? Is it blind? Christ, our Saviour wants us to have a true understanding and daily lasting experience of love and an understanding of how this love is to be expressed: towards Him and towards our fellowmen, whether family to family, husband to wife, friend to friend etc. What this world needs is sweet love, true love. The love that teaches us to be obedient to God’s commands. The love that is a high and holy principle that surpasses and outshines every other.
The bible tells us that God is Love (1Jn4:7, 8). The only way that love can be genuinely expressed is when a person has God in the heart by Faith. According to scripture, you cannot truly love another if you do not know God, who is Love. No matter how many roses, gifts… you may exchange!
Ann Marie John