Valentine’s Day is here at last and everyone is busy thinking about what to buy for their loved ones. Though the festival commemorates the martyrdom of a Christian saint called St. Valentine, the festival as it is celebrated today, has very little religious significance. In present times, Valentine’s Day has assumed a secular and global flavour and is celebrated by people of all castes and communities. Another noticeable factor in the Valentine’s Day celebration is that the festival celebrates love in all its forms and is not just restricted to romantic love. People therefore exchange Valentine’s Day greetings with their parents, teachers, siblings, friends, sweethearts or anyone very special or close to them. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be an occasion to display love, affection and care for our families, friends and romantic partners. But today, it does not seem that way anymore, for families and friends are mostly wiped off the list, leaving just the partner in it.
I always wonder whether this is the only day we can show affection for the people we love? Do we have to be in the mood to love our loved ones? Or celebrating Valentine’s Day is just following the trend because nearly every other couple in the world keeps celebrating it? What I mean is that everyone runs around on this occasion frothing, proclaiming their love and pledging their eternal allegiance to their loved ones. If someone truly cared about you, shouldn’t the feelings of ‘I love you’ be made known to each other more often? It’s certainly not necessary to present each other with a heart-shaped cardboard box filled with chocolates or a bouquet of flowers that cost an exorbitant sum at this time of the year. Sometimes I think that this is surpassingly done to cover up all wrongs and faults in the relationship, freeing the giver from all the sins he/she had committed within the last one year. Love, flowers, presents, dinner, romantic dates and parties! These positive words we could think of only when we think about Valentine’s Day. But has anyone ever thought about bankruptcy and arguments before?
Valentine’s Day, as I’ve said before, is a day of love and romance. Lovers across the world buy roses for their sweethearts. Marriage ceremonies are popular and roses are a pricey gift on Valentine’s Day because of St. Valentine’s life and death.
The cause of Valentine’s Day started with a priest named Valentine who lived in Rome during the third century A.D. At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius II. Valentine did not like the emperor as he wanted to have a big army and expected men to join it. Many men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and children behind. Hence, not many men signed up. This made the emperor furious, which led him to a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. Claudius then decided not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel and preposterous. Being a priest, his (Valentine’s) job was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius II passed his law, Valentine kept on performing marriage ceremonies secretly. He would lead the couples into a small candlelit room. They would then whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the footsteps of soldiers who would arrive any moment and arrest them. Valentine’s time was over when he was caught one day. He was thrown into prison and told that his punishment would be death.
Consequently, many young people came to the jail to visit this priest. They threw flowers and notes up to his window. History says the men and women wanted Valentine to know that they too believed in love. One young woman who visited him was the daughter of the prison guard. She helped Valentine to keep his spirits up. She agreed that Valentine did the right thing by ignoring the emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. One day, he left his female friend a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. Valentine signed it as “Love from your Valentine”. This is how Valentine’s Day came to be celebrated.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)