The celebration of Valentine’s Day popularly known as a day of love on the 14th of February, is often confused with the misinterpreted concept of love for humanity. While the day is meant to commemorate Saint Valentine, a Christian martyr who advocated for love, peace and goodwill toward all, it has become primarily focused on romantic relationships rather than a broader love for humanity.
The origin of St. Valentine’s Day can be traced back to ancient Roman traditions where a festival called Lupercalia was observed in mid-February to honor the god of fertility. As Christianity emerged in Rome, the church sought to replace the pagan festival with a more wholesome celebration, honoring Saint Valentine instead. Saint Valentine’s association with love stemmed from his acts of compassion and his advocacy for marrying Christian couples during a time when it was prohibited.
In contemporary society, the celebration of Valentine’s Day has become increasingly commercialized and heavily focused on romantic love. It has become more about materialistic gestures, such as buying gifts, sending flowers, or even booking extravagant dates rather than truly embodying the essence of love and compassion for all individuals.
Unfortunately, some people would choose to engage in negative or immoral behavior on a day that is meant to be a celebration of love and positivity. This commercialized aspect of Valentine’s Day has inadvertently created a sense of pressure and exclusion for those who may not have a romantic partner. Many individuals feel left out or inadequate if they are not participating in the typical expressions of romantic love on this day.
This narrow focus not only discourages celebrating love in its diverse forms but also undermines the importance of showing kindness and love to all people regardless of their relationship status. However, the rest of us need to continue to focus on spreading love and kindness in the world and lead by example in the hope of inspiring others to do the same.
Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and kindness, not a day to engage in immoral acts. It is important to show love and respect for humanity and to treat others with dignity and compassion. Choosing to commit immoral acts on Valentine’s Day goes against the spirit of God and that of the holiday. Instead, let us use this day as an opportunity to spread love, kindness and positivity to those around us.
In addition, the emphasis on romantic love on this day can overshadow the love and care we should extend to our friends, family and even strangers. Love for humanity should not be restricted to a single day or solely directed towards a partner. It should extend beyond romantic relationships, encompassing compassion, empathy and goodwill towards all individuals. Acts of love, kindness and support should be lived and practiced daily, rather than confined to a specific holiday.
To reclaim the true essence of St. Valentine’s Day, we must redefine our perception of love and broaden our focus beyond just romantic relationships and since this year’s Valentine’s Day falls on the same day as Ash Wednesday, a significant day in the Christian calendar marking the beginning of Lent. This rare occurrence of the celebration of love and the day of repentance and fasting coming together thus serves as a reminder of the balance between worldly pleasures and spiritual devotion. It prompts us to reflect on the true essence of love, which is not only about romantic gestures but also about sacrificial giving and selfless service. As we exchange chocolates and roses, let us also remember to express love through acts of kindness, compassion and forgiveness towards others. It is crucial to remember that love is a universal language that transcends the boundaries of romance. By embracing and embodying the love for humanity advocated by Saint Valentine, we can truly celebrate this day with compassion, understanding and respect for all individuals.
Let us therefore strive to counteract negativity and immortality and at the same time, promote love and positivity to make the world a better and more loving place for everyone.
– Abraham Achimugu writes from Abuja.