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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Valentine : Necessary or unnecessary?

By Babatunde Ayedoju

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There are many special days that are celebrated in a year. Some of them are well known, while others are not  known. One of the special days in a year is February 14. It is not just a special day but one that is well known, especially among the youths.

There is hardly any youth who does not know the day called Valentine’s Day, a day that is set aside for lovers.

Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in Rome in the 3rd Century. There are many stories about St Valentine and over time these stories grew into the legend we know today.

During Valentine’s lifetime, many Romans were converting to Christianity, but the Emperor Claudius II was a pagan and created strict laws about what Christians were allowed to do. Claudius believed that Roman soldiers should be completely devoted to Rome. He believed that unmarried young men made better soldiers. Therefore, he passed a law preventing them from marrying. St Valentine began to marry these soldiers in secret Christian ceremonies and this was the beginning of his reputation for believing in the importance of love.

Eventually, Valentine’s activities were found out and he was jailed for his crimes against Claudius. While imprisoned, Valentine cared for his fellow prisoners and also his jailor’s blind daughter. Legend has it that Valentine cured the girl’s blindness and that his final act before being executed was to write her a love message signed ‘from your Valentine’. Valentine was executed on February 14, 270 AD.

Over the years, Valentine’s Day celebration has become very popular, especially among youths. A lot of youths associate the day with amorous expression of love between boyfriends and girlfriends.

According to Mokesioluwa Peters, a farmer, February 14 is a day set aside every year to celebrate St Valentine, a Roman Catholic priest, who elaborated the essence of love sharing but people have turned it to something else.

His words: “There is always love in sharing. Therefore, everyday to me is all about Valentine, because we have to extend love to all and sundry, no matter the level they operate. The previleged and the less previleged are not left out. The love in question must be genuine and platonic.

“Personally, I do not believe in Valentine’s Day, but as a man if your lady believes in it, then you have to play along with her by buying her gifts, taking her out and in many other ways.”

Abiodun Isijola, a fashion designer, said Valentine’s Day celebration should be for legally married couples alone. She said: “Actually, from the origin Val is for couples, because God ordained marriage but now it has turned to another thing. I think the society should stop encouraging it for continuing it because is really destroying the lives of youths and teenagers.”

According to Grace Olorunleke, a student, Valentine’s Day celebration is not for boyfriends and girlfriends alone, but a day to show love to everybody. She said: “Let’s remove the romantic part, because most people believe Valentine is for boyfriends and girlfriends. I believe it’s not a day for boyfriends and girlfriends but a day to celebrate love. Yes, we celebrate love everyday but can we say it’s everyday we do charity?”

She said further, “For me, Valentine’s Day is a day to show love to everybody, not just to your boyfriend or girlfriend. You can buy gifts for even your parents or siblings. It’s a time to show love to everybody. It’s just unfortunate that youths now abuse it. But I think it should be encouraged because even if we cancel it, that won’t stop youths from still engaging in immoral acts.

Another student, Abayomi Akinwande, said: “I don’t have any positive mindset or motive of celebrating Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is not meant to be celebrated as it is today. It is meant to be celebrated by adults or couples.”

Abayomi added: “I will urge the youths and teenagers not to celebrate it. Valentine’s Day is meant for only couples and adults. For example, at this point in time, most boys and girls are looking for ways to get a Val partner. At the same time, they are also looking for money to buy Valentine gifts for one another. That is what creates opportunities for kidnapping, money ritual and unwanted pregnancy.”

Another youth who did not want his name in print said showing love should be an everyday affair. It should not be restricted to a particular day. He said, “First of all, what is love? We can pour out all the dictionary definitions of love and we’ll still end up way off point. Love is a deep thing that no dictionary can define. If we are to be truthful with ourselves, will one day be enough to show love to that special person, my course-mates, my family or my neighbours? The answer is indellibly NO. I have 365 days to show love. So, why wait till February 14? More often than not, St Valentine’s Day is a day when girls dust their phonebooks and search for that gullible guy whom they’ll get to buy them expensive gifts and take them out, while guys are looking for that quick no-strings-attached one night stand. Is that how to celebrate love? Here in this country we don’t know what love is.”

Another student, Favour Aisida, described Valentine’s Day as a celebration for couples alone which should not be encouraged among unmarried youths.

Her words: “I think Valentine’s Day is a day In which we celebrate love, this love can be between couples, family, friends and our love ones, but people, especially the young ladies and guys, take Valentine as a day of making love with their girlfriends.

“I don’t think it’s a day which we should be celebrating because people have taken Valentine the other way round. It has also destroyed the lives of many young ladies today.”

In the words of Mrs. Mary Fadahunsi, a parent, “The reason behind Valentine’s Day has been misinterpreted by youths of nowadays. I heard that the celebration came to be because of someone who died for the sake of love. The youths of today have taken it out of context. It doesn’t have to be celebrated by husbands and wives or boyfriends and girlfriends alone. My neighbour or my mother can be my Valentine’s Day partner.”

Mrs. Fadahunsi said further, “If care is not taken, it’s that day some children will lose their virginity or fall victim of Yahoo boys. This is the right time for parents to educate their children , lest they get wrong advice elsewhere.”

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