A lot has been said about Valentine, no not that Val, yes I know he is a jolly good fella. My reference is to Valentine’s day as it is celebrated all across the world by lovers. I need not bore you with the story you know as far back as kindergarten about the saint who died for love and a day was set aside to remember him, bla, bla, bla. History has it, ironic as it may sound, that Valentine whose day we celebrate as a day of love died in a Roman prison, how Roman-tic!
Valentine’s day is a day to express and celebrate the spirit of love. A day set aside for exchange of gifts; in the US and UK, the most popular gifts exchange among lovers aside from the renewal of their pledge of undying love are candies, cards and mostly flowers. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. In Africa, it is different and certainly in Nigeria the most popular gifts are ….. left to your imagination!
I have seen contacts on Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Facebook and even the dying BBM specifying what gifts they want for Valentine’s day. Some of these messages are specific and with stern warnings; ‘This or nothing for you on that day‘. Funny as it may sound, that’s what it is and ‘Romeo’ must express his undying love as commanded by ‘She that must be obeyed’. After all it happens just once a year,’why can’t he save towards it?’
Naija version of ‘Valentine celebration’ reminds me of the annual Bazaar harvest in orthodox churches (don’t know if they still do it), where the item goes to the highest bidder! I call that ‘Love for sale’. I dare say the essence of the celebration is lost in the selfish aggrandizement of the so called ‘gift’.
All said and done, there are still some true lovers out there, and to you I say….
Happy Valentine’s day!