By Kehinde Ayeni
Two weeks before February 14, I noticed how ads on television and internet popped with many sales for valentines. I noticed countless events planned to celebrate the day of LOVE! From private parties to amazing shows for couples (even weddings were planned with this date), as the day approached there was no doubt in my mind a special day was upon us.
However, some approach Valentine’s Day with a sense of dread, for others they look forward to it with lots of enthusiasm. Why do we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day? Why so much emphasis to set aside a day to celebrate love?
If you ask me, everyday should be about love, giving back to others, caring for people and sharing with family, friends, colleagues or religious acquaintances. Yes, some may argue that it should be romantic love only and therefore that determines who they spend the day with or why they celebrate never stopping to Ever consider showing love to their neighbours, security officer, old distant relative or young or old persons on the street or in their community, place of worship who can do with a little help here and there.
It is important to examine the history of this celebration on love. St. Valentine’s Day is a tradition that started in Rome and named after one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to February 14. A popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire.
It might also interest you to know that Saint Valentine’s Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion as well as in the Lutheran Church and, the Eastern Orthodox.
On this day, we should choose to cultivate the art of giving and sharing. It might sound cliché but it is most blessed to give than to receive. A survey on Valentine’s spending beyond what people get for their significant others reveals: almost 60% will get something for a family member, 22% get gifts for friends and almost 20% get Valentine’s Day presents for their pets.
Now you know you should give and if not sure how to give without breaking the bank with the long list of receivers, here are some ideas.
How to give back on Valentine’s Day
- This is the best time to volunteer, check out volunteering opportunities in your area. Churches/mosques will be having feast over the weekend, choose to spend your time (at least some of your time) to support the activities.
- No one will turn you away from the hospital door, go there with gifts. You can visit shelters, motherless baby’s homes, I am sure they will be happy to see you.
- I said this before; remember those in your community who help you on a daily basis. Give a ‘thank you’ gift to your personal driver, personal trainer, teachers at your kids school or the cleaning person. Wait, you don’t necessarily need to give a gift, it could just be the word ‘thank you’ to appreciate them for their good work.
- I’m sure you will love this one! Throw a Valentine’s Day party and raise money for your organization or favorite cause.
- Make it a sweet Valentine’s Day by baking a cake and sharing with everyone.
As the smell of flowers and beautiful music fill the air and, jewelry and gorgeous gifts are wrapped to surprise your significant other with, be mindful of doing something nice for someone who might truly need it.
Do you think Valentine’s Day should be about romantic love celebration or you have more ideas on how to give back? Please leave a comment.