Valentine's Day is the traditional day on which people express their love for each other; however, some religions refrain from celebrating Feb. 14 as a holiday because the origin of the holiday is not of their faith. While Christians celebrate this holiday, other religions feel the need to shun it.
"With stores lined wall-to-wall with flowers, gifts, heart-shaped balloons and candy, the temptation to take part is hard to resist," said senior nursing major Mary Sellers from Carencro. History plays a major role in religions.
The history of Valentine's Day is definitely a reason in which some religions choose to overlook Valentine's Day as a real holiday.
Valentine's Day, which is really St. Valentine's Day, is of Christian tradition. Two saints whom were imprisoned and killed for being Christians in the third century attributed to the naming of the holiday.
While imprisoned, one of the saints wrote a letter to his jailer's daughter who often visited him. He signed the note 'Your Valentine." It was 'Christianized' in honor of the martyrdom of St. Valentine in A.D. 270, who, during medieval times, was known for uniting lovers under stringent conditions.
Although origins of Valentine's Day have nothing to do with Judaism, St. Valentine exemplified two sentiments with which Judaism would never quibble, love for god and others.
The religion of Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, based on principles and ethics embodied in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh). Valentine's Day is a touchy subject in Jewish eyes because it goes back to the mid-fourteenth century, tens of millions of Europeans were dying from the plague; rumors were rampant that Jews dreamed up the disease to poison Christians. In Strasbourg, a mob used this as an excuse in 1349 to exterminate local Jews to whom they owed massive debts. About 2,000 Jews were rounded up and burned to death on a platform in the local Jewish cemetery.
Therefore, the religion does not go against the celebration because of the meaning of the holiday, but the historical events linked to it drew the Jewish away from acknowledging it as a real holiday.
While Valentine's day is a time to show affection and love to others, some religions, such as the Islamic faith, feel that love and affection should be shown regularly and not only on certain days. Islam's view is clear on the subject of the celebration of non-Muslim holidays.
The overwhelming majority of scholars agree that Valentine's Day falls into the same category as Christmas and Halloween, and is considered an innovation, or bid'ah, with no Islamic significance. The holiday has no legal basis in the Islamic Sharia law; therefore, it is not accepted into their faith. Islam discourages the participation in the holiday while Buddhism merely gives more importance to other holidays.
Although Buddhism does not blatantly discourage its people from celebrating Valentine's Day, Hinduism, India's major religion does. Hinduism is practiced by approximately 80 percent of India's population and is the largest religion in Asia.
Traditional Hindu culture discourages public displays of affection between the sexes, including handholding, which Valentine's Day encourages.
Valentine's Day is also resented by some as a Christian and western influence.
"Although the holiday does have a religious history in Christianity, it is presently just a holiday to show affection and have fun," said Ferrin Francis, a junior child and family studies major from Rayne.
However, Hindu Valentine Protestors beg to differ. In India, Hindu followers protest against Valentine's Day celebrations annually.
Religions that refrain from celebrating Valentine's Day seem to see Valentine's Day as nothing other than a "Christian holiday." Many who practice these religions do not allow their children or themselves to participate in this holiday of love and affection.
"Religions which don't celebrate Valentine's Day should still allow their very young children to participate, it's an innocent holiday, especially when they're young," said Brittney Brumfield, a junior psychology major from Bogalusa.
Although many religions choose not to take part in this holiday, it has still proved to be one of the most annually celebrated holidays. Valentine's Day has gradually become a much-commercialized holiday where gifts are expected almost as much as during the Christmas season.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion cards are sent every Valentine's Day, making it the second largest card sending holiday of the year. Although some religions are fighting to stop Valentine's Day celebrations, get your cards, gifts, or flowers ready because Valentine's Day is here to stay.