Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or Feast of Saint Valentine (according to the Roman Catholic Church) is an annual event celebrated on the 14th Day of every February in order to honour the memory of two early Catholic saints named Valentinus (coined from “valene”, a Latin word for strong and healthy). It has, however, come to be recognized as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love across many nations of the world.
It was Geoffery Chaucer, the 14th century poet that first associated romantic love with the feast of St. Valentine and it gained prominence because as at that time, the tradition of courtly love flourished. It began to grow into a big occasion in which couples expressed their love for each other by sending flowers, greeting cards and other gifts in the 18th century England known as “valentines,” otherwise, it was simply a religious celebration.
However, the numerous martyrdom stories that trail this celebration does not escape us; the most popular being a written account of Saint Valentine of Rome who was imprisoned and later killed for his courage to secretly wed soldiers in the Roman Empire who were forbidden by law to marry. The Feast of Saint Valentine was then established in AD 496 by Pope Gelasius to be celebrated on February 14 in memory and honour of the Christian martyr, Saint Valentine of Rome, who was murdered on that date in AD 296.
To this extent, the feast day is meant to be a day of peace, romantic love and kindness. This is what we have come to associate Valentine’s Day with. Some persons across the world have even extended it be a day to remember and show love to the less privileged, the sick, the imprisoned and all other downtrodden people they can reach out to. These people are given gifts, money, food, medical care and, sometimes, shelter; suffice it to say that this is how I feel it should be.
But even when I feel like saying we must not wait for Valentine’s Day to do all these to and for our fellow humans, it is also important to point out that in so many corners of the world today, Valentine’s Day has become synonymous with excess partying, drinking, smoking and juvenile sex orgy that robs a coal of misplaced priority to the whole thing.
Most persons and organisation now set out the day to massage their ego, by carrying camera phones and media men around to centres where they intend to do charity work in order to show the world how human they are; a deceitful means to defraud international bodies of support fund.
In light of the aforementioned, I’d like to urge us to remain focused on the initial outlines of the celebration, and like a friend would say, Valentine “is a day to spread love not to spread legs.”
This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike