By Moses Uzer
Celebrated on 14 February each year, Valentine’s Day also known as The Feast of Saint Valentine is a day that is traditionally associated with romantic love. It evolved into an occasion where lovers express their love for each other by presenting precious gifts to their loved ones.
Historically, there are many legends to prove that Valentine’s Day has its roots in ancient Italian society. According to one of such legends, the festivity originated because of a Catholic priest, called Saint Valentine who helped lovers get married during the reign of Roman Emperor, Claudius in 269 A.D.
Regrettably, Saint Valentine was eventually executed for acting against the will of the emperor. It was said that Emperor Claudius had soldiers who gave priority to their families and were reluctant to leave their wives for war. For these reason, the emperor completely abolished the concept of marriage.
However, Bishop Valentine took it upon himself to get the soldiers secretly married. When the emperor discovered this, he became angry and had Valentine arrested and detained.
Fortunately or unfortunately, while in prison, awaiting execution, Valentine fell in love with the blind daughter of a jailer, named Julia after healing her.
Moreover, before his execution, Valentine sent Julia a message tagged: “From your Valentine”. Till today, this phrase coined by Valentine remains popular and is used worldwide on Valentine’s Day.
In England of the 18th Century, Valentine’s Day evolved into an occasion in which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offerings, sending cards and confectionery.
Initially, the significance of Valentine was limited to only romantic couples who courted their lovers and exchanged love letters, poems or gifts on Valentine’s Day.
However, towards the end of the 19th Century, the relevance of the feast underwent a change. People started celebrating the day to express love and affection towards all those who made their lives special.
Today, the day is considered as an occasion to commemorate all beautiful human relationships. The festival has come to be known as the day to celebrate love in all forms. It is now considered as an occasion to express the universal feelings and emotions which represent love
Individuals make it a point to wish “Happy Valentine’s Day” to their friends, parents, siblings, teachers, colleagues, or anyone they consider special.
The day has also become a fashionable trend, particularly among youths. They make elaborate plans, budgets and strategies for celebrating the day well in advance.
Meanwhile, those without lovers desperately “go a-fishing”, looking for new dates with a view to showing love in a romantic manner.
Nowadays, the affair of Valentine has been turned into a money-making celebration with those in entertainment and sundry businesses.
The true fundamental nature of Valentine’s Day is true and genuine love. The day is supposed to be a significant period when married couple reaffirm their love and genuine affection for one another.
It is equally expected to be a day when singles also partake in the celebration by spreading agape love.
As lovers celebrate the Feast of Saint Valentine with their loved ones in parks, night clubs, restaurants, café, hotels and the rest, they must not forget the present security and health challenges in the country.
They should remember to observe COVID-19 protocols. Valentine’s Day should imbibe in us the spirit of generosity and sacrifice just like Saint Valentine demonstrated by giving his life so that lovers can unite and as Christ did by sacrificing His life for our salvation.
Divorced couples, lovers, friends and relatives should consider Valentine as a day of forgiveness and re-union.
Politicians, religious groups, traditional rulers and stakeholders of various groups on the other hand, should regard the festivity as a means of conciliation, reconciliation and end of hostilities as against disagreement, hatred and antagonism.
It is by so doing that Nigerians will swim in peace, harmony, and tranquility this valentine and beyond.