Midway through the month of February, people set some time off from their schedules to celebrate love. This day has been christened Valentine’s day and it is not rare to find people buying flowers and other gifts for their partners on this day. This begs the question what is the true essence of Valentine’s Day? There are 365 days in a year yet it is the 14th of February that has specifically been set aside to celebrate love. Why is this the case?
To understand all these we need to go back in time to the days of Emperor Claudius II Gothicus who ruled over the Roman Empire with an iron fist in the 3rd century. Emperor Claudius II Gothicus was cruel and mean, not only to his subjects but to his neighbors as well. He would enter into so many wars with his neighbors and this resulted in a lot of casualties. He lost many soldiers and this scared off new recruits from joining his army. Recruitment was down and this affected his plans of “concurring” the world.
His first course of action was to ban marriages. Yes banning of marriages. He felt that people were shying away from joining the army because they did not want to leave their loved ones and families behind. This ban quashed the hopes of thousands of couples who wanted families of their own.
No one was willing to stand up to the tyrant until one priest by the name Valentine started marrying couples in secrecy. He would marry the soldiers before they joined the army despite the orders of the emperor. This continued for a while until the emperor found out of this secret practice and he immediately ordered Valentine be arrested and put in prison where he was tortured by his cruel soldiers.
It was in prison where he met with the Emperor’s daughter, who was blind, and fell in love her. The day before his execution, he wrote a love poem to say goodbye using ink squeezed from violets. He signed off the letter “from your Valentine” and the next day the 14th of February he was clobbered to death by the Emperor’s soldiers.
The Feast of St. Valentine has been celebrated on the 14th of February every year after Pope Gelasius I recognized his contribution to humanity by standing for love even in the face of adversity.
And that’s what love is all about. Love is sacrifice in the face of adversity. Love is putting the needs of others before your own. Love is caring even if that is all you that have. Love is sharing. Love is pure and simple. Love is not complicated. Love is not proud. Love is not mean.
And that is what we should be celebrating this Valentine. Take your time to appreciate your partner. Listen to them to understand the desires of their hearts. Sometimes appearances matter and your partner may seem happy and jovial but deep down they are hurting. Listen to what they have to say. Give them your attention and build strong and lasting bonds. Crack a joke and laugh together. Share beautiful moments together. Remind each other of how you met and what attracted you to each other.
Some people go big on Valentine’s Day in an attempt to mask their failings for the better part of the year. They buy their partners extravagant gifts and pull off big gestures but immediately the day ends they go back to their old ways. They don’t give attention to their partners, they care less and hardly spend time with them. This is wrong and not what Valentine’s Day is about.
Valentine’s Day is about appreciating your partner for the wonderful person he or she has been to you throughout the year and no gift can mask your inadequacies. Let this Valentine’s Day be different. Let it be a celebration of love. Let it be about appreciation and above all let it be about building bounds that last a lifetime.
Happy Valentine Loves.