Nigerians join the world on February 14 to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day despite the thorny issues trailing the forthcoming general elections
| By Fidelia Salami | Feb. 23, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
IT has become a yearly ritual which engages the attention of everyone – both the young and Old. All over the world, from schools, offices, to churches etc the buzz word now is St. Valentine’s Day, also known as the lovers’ day which comes up February 14 every year. This year’s celebration of the valentine has gained momentum with all sectors of the economy, especially the gift shops, fashion houses, boutique, entertainment and hospitality industry are giving out enticing offers to persons who wishes to commit a token as a show of love to relations, wives, children, friends and colleagues. As it is usual during this season, many shops are filled with reddish gift items and boutiques display red clothings.
Whether single or married, St. Valentine’s Day gives people the real reason to celebrate love and exchange messages of affection, love, and devotion. Different programmes are done by organisation and different people to mark the day. Some interest groups also map out the day to shore underprivileged people and children in charity homes such as orphanages and old peoples home with gifts and love.
One of such churches is the Catholic Church of Transfiguration Arepo, Ogun State, which last week Saturday organised couples night as part of its Valentine’s Day. It was done earlier because of the presidential election which was fixed for February 14 before it was postponed to March 28 because of security reasons and the fact that many people have not collected their permanent voter card, PVC. The postponement of election has in a way affected persons who wanted to use it as an excuse for not doing anything for their friends and family.
Although concerned about whether government will use the shift in date to address the issues raised, Ellen Sekumade, American, teacher, Pampers Private School, Surulere, married to a Yoruba man from Abeokuta, recalled lovers day and with narrowed eyes said: “I hope to have a party with my children on St. Valentine’s Day. And I will invite some neighbourhood children to my house. I just bought my children some movies and we are going to have a party at home.”
Unlike Sekumade, Obinna Ozoji, a lawyer and politician, is thinking more about how to please his wife on the lovers day. Curling his lips like a man falling in love for the first time Ozoji said: “Valentine is every day to my wife and I. I try as much as possible to make her happy because I love her so much. Whenever I pass through a duty shop and I think she deserve something, I buy it for her. But on Val’s day, it is compulsory that I get her something special. I buy her jewelries and perfumes. I am still thinking of how to spend the day with her. I am trying to get a red branded T-shirt for myself and her, with some inscription of her and me on it that we will both wear them on that day. I will look for a very cool outing just for her and myself, either a sit out or a dinner. I will choose where I think my wife will like.”
Similarly, Ayo Adebayo, business man, said this was no doubt a season of love and sharing irrespective of the present heat in the polity. “I am planning to hit the cinemas to catch a romantic movie with my fiancé. It is a time to be romantic, buy gifts and appreciate your heartthrob or loved one. Although we live in an unreal world where genuine emotions are rare,” he said.
Nneka Nzuemeka, student, observed the some men were so happy that the election date was fixed on February 14, because they won’t have to spend money on their girlfriends. Well, I am happy too that the election date was postponed. At least the whole day will be for me and my boyfriend. We are no longer waiting till the evening. I hope to spend the day watching a new movie, then going behind doors. We have to make ourselves happy. My boyfriend is taking me out. He has to because it is definitely compulsory. Or I take him out anyway,” she said.
Contrary to Ozoji and Adebayo’s views, Eric Obinna, voice over artiste, said people celebrate Valentine’s Day for the wrong reasons. “I don’t celebrate Valentine. It is referred to as lovers’ day; when in natural fact it is suppose to be a day for people who don’t get loved in their life, the less privilege and people with special needs. That’s what Valentine is supposed to be for. But unfortunately, people have tagged it for something else. I don’t celebrate the day for the fact that people have misconstrued the day for other reasons. Every girl friend I have had all my life understands that I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day for obvious reasons. I have always been a church person and because I know the actual meaning of Valentine’s Day, I don’t spend it the way others do. I never have and never will buy gifts for anyone on Valentine’s Day,” he said.
Also, Tunde Omolabi, business man does not believe in Valentine’s Day because of his Church, Mountain of Fire, MFM, but he intends to buy a small gift for the wife on that day. “I believe in love. I believe that we should show love to one another every day. We do not have to wait for Valentine’s Day before we share love with people. I hope to show love to my wife by buying a small gift. We will not go out,” said Omolabi.
Saint Valentine’s Day isn’t all about roses, candy, jewelries, clothings and expensive dinners. It has a historical background, too. Contrary to what some may believe, Valentine’s Day wasn’t created by greetings card companies just to sell cards and candies; it’s actually a church sanctioned holiday, as Pope Gelasius deemed February 14, St. Valentine’s Day near 498 A.D. Shrouded in mystery, the exact origins of the celebration of St. Valentine are somewhat still unclear.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl, who may have been his jailor’s daughter, who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.