-February 14, is a year celebrated worldwide as Saint Valentine's day
- It more has to do with showing love to people, though the meaning has been misconstrued
- This piece samples views on people on the street on how they intend to spend this year's Valentine's day
- There is also the history of the day and the important message of showing love to all.
Every February 14, is celebrated and marked by many people in different parts of the world as Saint Valentine’s Day.
To some, it is a day of exchanging candies, flowers and gifts among friends, family and loved ones. For these gifts, they should compulsorily have a touch of red, to signify love. So while others decide to be promiscuous on that day, others also opt to spend it solemnly. So I ask you, who is this mysterious Saint and where did all these tradition come from? You would also find out from this report what people’s expectations are for Valentine’s Day.
Many schools of thought have tried to come out with the story behind St. Valentine’s Day. According to some, it is associated with a priest, who married people secretly under the reign of Emperor Claudius 11, others also attribute it to a gentleman, who helped Christians escape from the harsh Roman prisons and a legend who found love in Prison . The third school of thought emphasis that it is a festival that was celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial, which occurred probably around A.D. 270. But whichever story revolves around the celebration of valentine we do know for sure that February has long been recognized as a month of romance. Also St. Valentine’s Day, as we have come to know today encompasses Christians, Muslims and the Ancient Roman Tradition.
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different Saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom are martyred. All these stories surrounding St. Valentine’s day exhibit some form of love, but for me what attaches importance to the celebration today is the story of an imprisoned valentine, who fell in love the jailor’s daughter. Before the imprisoned valentine’s death, history recounts that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine”. This expression is still in use today, as a valentine greeting. In short, though the stories behind Valentine’s day is varied, they all emphasize St. Valentine’s appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and a romantic figure.
About eight or nine years ago, the Government of Ghana, announced the day, be observed as a National Chocolates day. This was to encourage and promote the purchase of Chocolate products as a perfect gift for loved ones on that day. Later, Radio and TV stations added various competitions to attract couples to win various prizes. These prizes range from honeymoon trips, cash prizes, hampers, teddy bears and now chocolates.
This week in Ghana, many activities have been planned for the day, which falls on a Saturday. First of all, Happy Fm has been known to bring joy to couples with their mass wedding ceremonies, where over 20 couples get married on the same day. The event which has been running for ten years now, has witnessed over two hundred couples being united, with no expense paid from them. Also, the Ghana Cocoa Board, the institution responsible for helping to promote Cocoa products is known to spend the day with a select group of institutions throughout the country, sharing cocoa-based products. Other major radio stations are running competitions where lucky couples get prizes or get away to a hide out for a vacation and as for the TV stations, the least said about it, the better.
There are special events through this whole week on all media platforms capturing the attention of Valentine’s Day celebrants. Restaurants, Guest houses and Pubs, are all not left out of this year’s valentine’s celebration. In writing this research, I discovered that out of all the plans in place by these promoters and event organizers, many young couples this year are taking advantage of the day to exchange their vows (marriage). Marriage is said to be an important and memorable decision and for these couples, they chose to make that decision on Valentine’s day. Quite exciting, if you ask me and congratulations to these couples in advance.
This piece brings to mind a discussion that one of the local radio stations had this week in relation to Valentine. The discussion was centered on “what habit you would want your partner to drop this valentine”. Another radio station also asked listeners to call in and talk about “the best or worst gift they ever received from their partners”. Interesting huh!
A random sampling of views from persons on the streets of Accra about their expectations for this year’s valentine brought answers like “I want an IPhone 5”, “I want my boyfriend to take me out to a nice romantic night”, “I just want to surprise my husband on Saturday”, “I will be the happiest woman on earth come February 14, because I am getting married on that day”, “My boyfriend has promised me a romantic night with just the two of us” and “I have nothing planned because I am not dating”.
These are few of the many answers I received with smiles from the people whose views I sampled, but whichever way you think of spending this year’s valentine, or whatever you are planning to get for your valentine and what you would want for a valentine present, be it teddy bears, phones, marriage proposals, cars or chocolates, which researches say is one of the best cancer-fighting foods, aside others like red wine, blueberries, garlic and tea, think of the memorable way to show love; not just to your valentine but to the needy as well. Remember! It is the little thing that counts.