Valentines Day

The Love Of Valentine

2 months ago
3 mins read

Growing up, 14th February when Valentine feast is celebrated has never made sense to me even though it has always been well discussed among young adults and even older adults too. I grew up close to the church and it was always a subject of contention among the brethrens, of what it truly infers.

While in secondary school, I got a little idea of what it meant: it was about St Valentine, who was said to have been martyred around 270 CE by emperor Claudius 11 of Gothicus. But then, the story is clouded in mystery, it’s only but a legend.

The historical evidence surrounding St. Valentine is quite sketchy, and it’s not entirely clear whether the story started with one saint who then became two, or if biographers of one man borrowed details from the other, or if any ever existed at all. The early accounts of the two Valentines are typical martyrdom stories, emphasizing the saints’ miracles and gruesome deaths, but containing not a word about romance. The connection of St. Valentine with love is more mythical than historical.

One of the popular legends is that in the year 269 AD, Valentine, a Roman Catholic priest, was sentenced to a three-part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter, inspiring today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine”.

According to some accounts, St. Valentine was a Roman priest and a physician who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus around 270. He was buried on the Via Flaminia, and Pope Julius I reportedly built a basilica over his grave. Other narratives identify him as the bishop of Terni, Italy, who was martyred, apparently also in Rome, and whose relics were later taken to Terni.

However, even amidst this sketchy historical background of the feast of Valentine, the obvious essence of celebration is “love”. The problem thereafter lies on what kind of love was celebrated.

According to the legend, St Valentine died because he insisted on wedding couples against the declaration of the emperor. This led him into being handed a death sentence, but even while in detention, awaiting execution, he still secretly wedded couples. This he did because of his believe and support for Love among couples.

READ ALSO: Valentine: A Note On True Love

While this feast grew, it has gained relevance with time, to the extent that even the non-christians do celebrate it. It becomes a day for lovers. Lovers indeed.

Growing with my peers, it had been either a period when my friends would have special moments with their lovers, or s3x mates, I would say, or a period of sharing gifts; in the church – as they called it – love feast. I wondered what Valentine. I can recall that Emeka my Friend impregnated his girlfriend, Dimma in one of the feasts. He had bought special gifts for Dimma and in return, had given her body to him.

Initially, they had plans for marriage. Plans to live with each other for the rest of their lives. I had admired those two, I even imagined getting someone I would love the same way. And while this happened, I wondered what it felt to be in love. I wondered how love felt.

The Valentine was actually for this two lovebirds. I had wished I would get one person I would spend that day with, just like Emeka and Dimma. But it seemed I was not meant for love, or so I thought.

That night was magical for these two, according to Emeka, when he was describing the experience to me later the next day. But this bliss seemed to had faded away within few weeks, when Dimma began to vomit. Emeka was not ready for the responsibility that followed this union. They two were in a state of confusion….

But as I grew older, I have been reflecting on this feast of Valentine and wondered the love being celebrated. I wondered what truly is the essence, if what it meant was what happened between Emeka and Dimma.

However, I have got to realize that misconception is what happened between these two juvenile. “While Valentine is a love feast, it is actually a season of reflection, where the lovers look back on the responsibility love brings- where the parties involved celebrate each other for standing amidst the responsibilities of love, for each other,”  a mentor had told me.

The true story of St. Valentine is clouded by myth, but the middle of February has been a favorite time for lovers since records began. St. Valentine’s Day is more closely associated with cards, chocolates, and commercial gain in modern times, but it has not always been the case. Although the story of the saint and the origins of the feast day are clouded by myth, February 14 has long been celebrated as the day of lovers. However, we should not celebrate what we don’t really understand. Love is beautiful, but even beauty comes with responsibilities.

The love of val is the reflection on what made us to stand with the people we love, on the sacrifices we are ready to make because of them, and appreciation of those we have in our lives, who have gone out of their way to make life easier for us.

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