Herbert W Armstrong Library
Sign In  |  MyHWA  |    
ST. VALENTINE'S DAY Christian Custom? - or Pagan Superstition?
Plain Truth Magazine
February 1966
Volume: Vol XXXI, No.2
QR Code
ST. VALENTINE'S DAY Christian Custom? - or Pagan Superstition?
Herman L Hoeh   
Church of God

Born: 1928
Died: November 24, 2004
Ambassador College: 1947
Ordained: December 20, 1952
Office: Evangelist

   WHERE DID St. Valentine's Day come from?
   You might suppose school teachers and educators would know. But do they? How many of you were ever taught the real origin of Valentine's 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 today's schools! If they were to speak out, many would lose their jobs!
   Isn't it time we examined why we encourage our children to celebrate St. Valentine's Day when it is never so much as 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. Valentine's Day as one of their best business days. And young lovers pair off at least for a dance or two at St. Valentine's 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 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." That's the admission of the "Encyclopedia Americana", article, "St. Valentine's 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 wouldn't hear of it! So it was agreed that the holiday would continue as it was, except for the more grossly sensual observances.
   It w as 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. Valentine's 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. Valentine's Day"? And why is the little naked Cupid of the pagan Romans 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 Christian?

Who Was the Original "St. Valentine"?

   Valentine was a common Roman name. Roman parents often gave the name to 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 "Baal," according to the "Classical Dictionaries". Baal mentioned so often in the Bible was merely another name for Nimrod, "the mighty HUNTER" (Genesis 10:9). The hunter Nimrod was the Lupercus or wolf hunter of the Romans. And St. Valentine's Day was originally a day set aside by the pagans in his honor!
   But why should Nimrod have been called "Valentine" by the Romans? And why should the celebration of this day have been anciently limited to the city of Rome before Pope Gelasius' time? What part did the site of ancient Rome play in the life of Nimrod?
   Valentine comes from the Latin word "Valentinus", a proper name derived from the word "valens", meaning "to be strong," declares "Webster's Unabridged Dictionary". It means literally "strong, powerful, mighty." Any connection with Nimrod? We read in the Bible that Nimrod was the "MIGHTY hunter" (Gen. 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 Nimrod's names was "Sanctus" or "Santa," meaning "Saint." It was a common title of any hero-god. No wonder that the Roman Lupercalia is called "Saint Valentine's 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 "Young's" or "Strong's 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 Semitic-speaking 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 "Young's Concordance" under "Sathar," also "sether").
   According to ancient tradition, Saturn (Nimrod) fled from his pursuers to Italy. The Apennine 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 Saturn's (Nimrod's) hiding. There he was found and slain for his crimes. Later, professing Christians in Constantine's 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 days in ancient times began at sunset the evening before.)
   Nimrod the Baal or sun god of the ancient pagans was said to have been born at the winter solstice. In ancient times the solstice occurred on January 6 and his birthday therefore was celebrated on January 6. Later, as the solstice changed, it was celebrated on December 25 and is 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 the day of birth. The fortieth day after January 6 Nimrod's original birthdate takes us to February 15, the celebration of which began on the evening of February 14 the Lupercalia or St. Valentine's 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. Valentine's Day. The "februa" 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 Nimrod's mother saw him, she LUSTED after him she DESIRED him. Nimrod became her Cupid her desired one and later her Valentine! So evil was Nimrod's 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 hero! 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 didn't want an African to worship. Consequently, they substituted a supposed son of Nimrod, a white child named Horus, born after the death of Nimrod. This white child then became the "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.
   Let's 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!

Back To Top

Plain Truth MagazineFebruary 1966Vol XXXI, No.2
|  Fundamental Doctrines of the Church of God  |  Comments or Suggestions?  |  FAQ  |   Holy Day Information   |   Site Map   |   Donations   |
|  Sabbath & Holy Day Services   |   Weekly Bible Study Services   |   Video Groups   |   2016 Feast of Tabernacles   |
Follow Us: HWALibrary - Mobile Site
Copyright © 2016 Herbert W Armstrong Library
Important Notice

Please Note:

The address and phone number for the Worldwide Church of God given for material are no longer valid for obtaining the material offered in booklets, magazines, telecast and radio broadcast.

HWALibrary.com has all material offered on this site 100% free. You do not need to call or mail your requests, simply do a search for the material offered on our site.

The Worldwide Church of God dissolved after Mr. Armstrong's death in January 1986.

Visit our FAQ page for instructions on downloading audio and video files.

Sabbath Services

Sabbath Services:

Hello, and welcome to our Sabbath and Holy Day service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Services are posted every Sabbath or Holy Day. Our service consists of 3 hymns, a Sermonette, a hymn, the Sermon and a final hymn.

Continue to the Sabbath Service page.

Bible Study Services

Bible Study:

Hello, and welcome to our Bible Study service tab. The services provided are selected from the recorded library of this website HWALibrary.com.

Bible Study services are posted each Wednesday. Our service consists of an opening hymn, a Bible Study and a final hymn.

Continue to the Bible Study Service page.