St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 every year, and has become a time when lovers celebrate their love and admiration for their partners using greeting cards, flowers, chocolate and gifts. The day has both pagan and Christian origins, as it seems to have originated in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was held in mid-February. This festival celebrated the coming of spring, and included various fertility rites. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced this celebration with St. Valentine’s Day in honour of one of the early Christian martyrs, St Valentine of Rome, who died in CE 269. It became a popular as a day for romance in the middle ages. By the 18th century, the sending of flowers, sweets and hand-written cards (’valentines’) on St Valentine’s Day had become very popular.
Whilst St Valentine’s Day is most commonly associated with romance, different cultures have developed their own ways of celebrating this festival. For example, in some parts of the world Valentine’s Day is observed as a day for showing love between family members and friends, rather than that of romantic couples. In such cultures, acts of appreciation between family members and friends have replaced the red roses and commercial cards.
St Valentine’s Day encourages us to think about what love looks like, not just between couples but between us all, whether in our families, friendship circles, or communities. We hope you enjoy our video that has another take on how the love of God is shared with us all.