The origin of this day is uncertain. Here are some theories: (1) Some (not all) believe that it is a “christianized” form of the Roman festival of Lupercalia. This festival occurred each year between February 13th and 15th. It is thought to have received its name from Lupera, the female wolf, that cared for Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, and/or Lupercus, the Roman fertility god. Animal sacrifice, drunkenness, and nakedness were a normal part of this festival. “The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain… Young women would line up for the men to hit them… They believed this would make them fertile. The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival – or longer, if the match was right” (The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day by Arnie Seipel, February 14, 2022, npr.org; also see, Lupercalia, history.com; History of Valentine’s Day, history.com).
(2) It clearly has to do with someone named Valentine. Some believe that the origin concerns Valentine of Rome or possibly Terni. “One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century 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 realized 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” (History of Valentine’s Day, history.com). He was supposedly beheaded on February 14 around 270 A.D. (6 Surprising Facts About St. Valentine by Elizabeth Hanes, history.com).
(3) Some credit another Valentine. “Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons… According to one legend an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first ‘Valentine’ greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl – possibly his jailor’s daughter – who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today” (Valentine’s Day 2023; Origins, Background & Tradition, history.com).
The origin seems impossible to discern. There are no fewer than three different men named Valentine or Valentinus who died on February 14th (You Can Blame Geoffrey Chaucer for Valentine’s Day by Emily Temple, lithub.com).
(4) However, it seems to be the poet Geoffrey Chaucer who popularized this day as a day of romance. “He did so in his poem Parlement of Foules published in 1382… “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day when every bird comes there to choose his mate.’ Through linking the day with romance, Chaucer was reflecting a belief in the Middle Ages that February 14 was the first day of the bird mating season, therefore it was an appropriate day for the young to express their love” (Valentine’s Day: The True Origins of This Romantic Tradition by Flora Hughes – Onslow, britain-magazine.com).
It is God who said, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Aren’t you glad?
It is God who created marriage. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, “For this reason shall a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5 cf. Genesis 1:27; 2:24). Aren’t you glad?
Let us not be like pagan Rome. Let’s not worship their gods, be drunk, run through the streets naked, engage in fornication.
However, there is nothing wrong with spending time with the one you love and expressing your love. “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16). “Rejoice with the wife of your youth (Proverbs 5:18). “Let marriage be held in high honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4 ESV).