On February 14 millions of people exchange tokens and messages of love and affection. Where and how did the curious customs of Valentine's Day begin? Does God have anything to say about such practices?
Every year in mid-February millions of people express romantic desire for each other by exchanging heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, flowers and "valentines." Children reveal hidden infatuations by sending a card as a "secret admirer." Retailers stock their shelves with merchandise covered in stylized hearts and Cupids now common on Valentine's Day.
Of course, this is nothing new. The custom of sending valentine cards actually became popular in the 1700s. Then in the early 1800s commercial valentines appeared, and soon there was no end to how entrepreneurs could make money from the holiday. Valentine's Day became so popular in the United States that one 1863 periodical claimed that was second in celebration only to Christmas.
Today, Valentine's Day is as popular as ever with children and couples. It's definitely one of the biggest moneymaking days for florists, candy makers and gift shops.
But just where did the curious customs of this day come from? What is the origin of the holiday itself? And what should the Christian perspective of this holiday be, according to the Bible?