Red flowers everywhere. Two by two. Ladies and gentlemen in red garments. At first I wasn’t able to understand what was going on. Actually, I thought there was some kind of event in the city that required that every person attending it, to wear red. It’s Valentine’s day. Many of us actually don’t understand the true meaning of the day. And that includes me. I did a little research though on people’s perception about Valentine’s day and these were some of the responses I got from the randomly picked respondents who were in the moods of the celebration of this precious day.
Valentine’s day is a very important day to people who are in love. People get to exchange flowers and gifts on this day. This is the day a couple needs to take a day off, have lunch together in some fancy restaurant, watch a 3D movie in the cinemas and later wrap it all up with some good sex.
Another respondent, a lady, who was in her mid 20’s, told me, and I quote, ” For me Valentine’s is that day I want to receive a box of Chocolate and Roses from my boyfriend. As you can see, I’m wearing red. A color that has long been considered of passion and sexuality. It’s Valentine’s Day bro. Cheer up.”
So many responses. Different reactions showed by different people on this day. But the truth is, many people don’t actually know the meaning of this Day. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day. Some of us actually associate the story of Romeo and Juliet with that of Valentine. That is, Valentine died for love (Valentine died for the love of his life). Now, let me save you the embarrassment.
Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February
While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. I hope your Valentine is gonna be your lifetime partner. That is, if you are not married yet.
© Patrick Lumumba Abonyo