For over centuries now, the world has never cease to celebrate February 14th. It is indeed, if not but one of the glorious and emblazoned day in human life as it marks the celebration of the feast of the highly revered St. Valentine and the celebration of love in general. As Valentine’s day (also known as lovers’ day) is here; it’s no doubt that the rhythmical sounds of love will once again fill the air amid eminent make up and break up relations that will ensue. Many are going to be teased, tossed and given an exquisite love care and treatment that will create an imperishable impression in their souls while others may stumble upon their waterloos as they are going to encounter the greatest depression in their love lives.
As we are about to clear the air and kick off the celebration in high tunes either in our Churches, cafeterias, bars as well as beaches and beds; let’s quickly reflect on some salient points about Valentine’s day.
What is the origin of Valentine’s day?
There are several historical revelations about the origin of Valentine. Some of these revelations are diametrically opposed to each other—however, there are areas of convergence and consensus amongst the varying historical antecedents. It is generally believed that the origin of the celebration of Valentine is dated as far back as the 14th Century pre Roman empire, and associated with Lupercalia (an ancient traditional festival during 15th of February, marked by the pairing of men and women to boost fertility). This celebration was however, different from the common version of Valentine which is rooted in the Roman Catholic Church. By the 15th century, Pope Gelasius I, added to the Liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, 14th February to commemorate the death of two saints—Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni who were earlier executed by Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus II on 14th of February.
It’s believed that St. Valentine defiled an imperial order forbidden soldiers from marrying as he secretly married them. Also, another version of the origin of Valentine quipped that; the prisoned priest wrote a letter in which he signed “from your Valentine” and gave to his jailer’s daughter who was earlier healed of blindness by him. It’s upon this background that the feast is associated with love.
What then is Valentine’s day?
Interestingly, what began as a mere religious festival in the 14th century Rome and later 15th century has materialised into something bigger than it was, thus gaining a global attention that command great momentousness. To some, Valentine is simply known as lovers’ day or a day of love. It is that season of love in which people mostly engage in love sharing through gifting, expression of feelings, making proposals and also marriage. To Catholics, it marks the annual feast of Saint Valentine. One fact that cannot be diminished from any explication of Valentine is that it is hinged on love. So, it is apparent to say that Valentine is love and love is Valentine.
How do I celebrate Valentine’s day?
The good news is that there are no rules or guidelines on how to celebrate Valentine’s day. Perhaps, they say love is blind—so you can choose to celebrate it which ever way you wish. For Catholics, it is ideal to start the day by attending mass which is the best thing to do. To celebrate Valentine’s day is to celebrate love. Mind you—love is bigger than the existing one in sexual relationships. As much as spending time with your fiance, fiancee; wife and husband is a good thing to do on this day, materiality should not cloud your emotions as you may be wallowing in the opposite of love. In case you don’t have a spouse, find the love within you, or within your family and make yourself/yourselves lovely. Expressing your love for your family is a great thing to do as it rekindles their commitment and love for you.
It should be noted that cards and gifts are very good ways of expressing love. SMS, chats and calls can also be of help in case you cannot afford the luxury of buying gifts. In essence, make your Valentine a happy one by doing that which gives you love, and by healing wounds that are harmful to your love life. Whichever place and condition you find yourself, celebrate Valentine by being an emblem of love that will please souls. Be that voice that will send healing memories to one’s ear—be that Romeo and Juliet that will dance in the rains of love, fight for love and do great things for love like St Valentine, for love is life.
Happy Valentine’s day.
Wayo A. Francis
Undergraduate Law Student at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife,
Poet and freelance writer.
Phone number: 08106877966