Val…! Love…! These are the two words that never part like Siamese Twins. Call the name ‘Valentine’s Day’ and you get the title ‘Love.’ Prior this day, people look for at least fresh love and those that have it already look for more by just asking someone to ‘be my Val’. Oops! I just remembered I don’t have one. But don’t worry; I am not going to ask you out.
So amazing!! A pagan custom and tradition with a Christian name – in fact a Saint’s name, given by a Church’s Pope. In fact Saint Valentine, whose name Val’s day bear was a martyr for his religious beliefs, which were contradictory to the government of his days. And truly, like the name bearer who was martyred, love has truly been martyred, murdered, to almost extinction on this day of Valentine by the many who, out of acute blindness of reasoning, see love from the black mirror of an annihilated love.
Some people disapprove the celebration of Valentine’s Day by Christians because of its pagan origin. However, it is unavoidably undeniable that the tentacles of this festival have spread among the Christian singles’ community like an octopus and has entangled many singles – sadly. What then do we do? Celebrate it or not? If yes, then how? I’m still thinking.
Lupercalia, known as the “festival of sexual license” for the singles in the Roman Empire, which was celebrated on the 15th of February was meant to match singles and make them sex partners for the rest of the year till they get married. This shows an immoral historical bearing of what today we call the day of love. This was eventually “Christianized” by Pope Gelasius who succeeded Constantinople, who was the pope that made Christianity the state religion in the Roman Empire. In an attempt to restore morality to his empire, he made it that young ones be rather matched with saints’ and martyrs’ names and for spiritual imitation and growth rather than single boys to singles ladies for immorality. By such, it is now a responsibility and an obligation to the youths to emulate and live like the saint that they have been drawn to.
February is a ‘pure’ month as the name implies. It derives its meaning from the word “Februa” and it means “means of purity”. It was named after Februalia, the Roman festival of purification. Ironically, Valentine’s Day has almost only become a “means of impurity.” Innocence of age is sacrificed on the altar of Valentine’s Day’s celebration. Morality and decency are stripped from youths at adolescence, even before adulthood. Emotionally drained, youths have been “world-weary” of their acts and have done all sorts of vices – drunkenness, drugs cracking, abuses of all sorts, fornication, etc. It’s now a life where a teen-aged virgin is a rare find, where unmarried twenty-or-thirty-somethings have had at least five sexual partners – and that is even considered lower. It still leaves much to be wondered how the distortion of culture carries on its back to deliver to us a distorted moral lifestyle.
I like the generous spirit of the Valentine’s Day – the lovely exchange of love cards, candies, outings, romantic messages and poems, and the aromatic flowers. Well, but I still wonder, when does something stop going for something in this age? I mean when do all of these gifts stop going for physical pleasure? When does the guy stop looking downward her body as he gives these gifts and the babe guaranteeing and allowing the lovely sensational touch? Because I really cannot imagine that it only stops there. One step, they say, leads to the next. Love on Valentine has become “Eros” – Erotic rather than “Agape.” I love the Cupid and the Hearts on the Val’s cards. Cupid (from the Latin word Cupere) is “to desire” i.e. to desire a heart – to desire love. I still wonder again, is love just for a day? Isn’t love a lifestyle? Isn’t it lived daily? I still wonder! Is the “First-Corinthians-Thirteen Love” in the Bible the one we are celebrating on Val? Is it the love we want and give? Which heart do we seek? God’s heart? Oops! I just said the wrong name! I really wonder!!!
Well, Val has come to stay among us, but I am still interested in what meaning, form, and reason we have attached to it. That is the difference in Christianity – reason (essence) and meaning. What is Val? How do you do it? And why do you do it? Remember!! You can as well do without it, because love is not just speared for Val, but lived to and for Pals for a whole lifetime. If at all it can be done, then do it God’s way and let it be that way. Remember, what you do this one Val counts in the next Val, and the next, and the next, and the next… and for your life time. Watch that step!!
Cephas L Bahago