On Thursday next week, the scent of love will fill the air as people celebrate Valentine’s Day. Marked every February 14, Valentine’s Day has always carried an aura of intimacy, for it is a day where most people choose to ‘speak the language of love’.
Those who believe in love excitedly look forward to this day; they plan on the special gifts they will give, and wait eagerly for the time they will spend with their significant others.
Valentine’s Day is an old tradition thought to have originated from the Roman culture. The day is believed to be named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in Rome in the 3rd Century.
There are varying stories about the origin of this day. Whereas some indicate that the Christian church decided to place St Valentine’s feast day at this time of the year in an effort to ‘Christianise’ the pagan festival of Lupercalia (an ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral annual festival observed in the city of Rome to avert evil spirits), other notions show that one time, a Roman king believed that single soldiers offered devoted service as compared to married ones, so he abolished marriage. Then a young priest by the name Valentine started marrying off couples secretly and when the king learnt of it he was martyred on February 14, hence recognising this day after him.
Irrespective of what the origin of Valentine’s Day is, is the day worth the celebration?
Upcoming musician Victor Rukotana believes Valentine’s Day is certainly worth celebrating, especially if one understands ‘how sweet love is’.
It is a beautiful day to celebrate love. A couple can make use of this day to reflect on how far they have come in their relationship by looking at the good and the bad they have gone through, he says.
“A couple can also choose to have fun and remind themselves of why they chose each other. Why they chose to love above everything else,” Rukotana adds.
When she was younger, Claudine Mwangacucu a makeup artist, says Valentine’s Day was the highlight of her relationships.
It was nice to get gifts, chocolates and flowers, she says. But as she grew older, Mwangacucu’s perspective altered altogether.
Red roses are a popular Valentine’s Day treat. Net photo
She says she looks for more than just a celebration in a relationship.
“I don’t think it has a big impact on me anymore. To me, a man’s actions throughout the year are more important than just that one day. How does he treat me, how kind is he, how considerate is he, how does he make me feel, how does he feed my soul? This is what matters,” she says.
Mwangacucu says if she gets to be treated like a queen on Valentine’s Day it would be great, however, even in the absence of special care on this day she says she would not feel less loved.
She, hence, says she doesn’t give Valentine’s Day much attention. “Like I said, there is more to love than just celebrating Valentine’s Day. I would prefer he gets me flowers and chocolate on any day just because he thought of me, rather than on Valentine’s Day when there is so much pressure to deliver or because he was reminded to do so.”
For Sheila Atukunda, however, Valentine’s Day is one of those days that she enjoys celebrating.
“I always look forward to receiving chocolates and roses. Then later meeting up with my boyfriend for a cosy evening together. For me, this day is just a cute way of having fun with the love of my life,” she says.
Valentine’s Day should not be a date that your relationship hinges on, it should be a day that your relationship can acknowledge and continue to move forward as it does the other 364 days of the year. Net photos
Why one day to celebrate love?
R&B singer Peace Jolis doesn’t believe in Valentine’s Day. He thinks love must be celebrated every day.
He wonders why some people wait for this day just to express their love which, according to him, is wrong. “I think one can express love anytime anywhere without waiting for a particular day like this one,” he notes.
Valens Bugingo says he doesn’t know why he has to be part of this day. To him, celebrating Valentine’s Day is like issues related to religion; it has never meant anything to him.
Besides that, he also wonders why it is only one day that was chosen for people to celebrate love.
“To me, it doesn’t make sense,” he says. “Every day we have a chance to celebrate love, so I don’t see why we have one day to do this. But sometimes I think it is more of a brag for couples where they get to buy lavish gifts all in the name of expressing love.”
He is of the view that instead of making a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, people should focus on celebrating anniversaries.
Barrister Emmanuel Kigenyi says he doesn’t partake in Valentine’s Day celebrations because to him expressing love is an everyday thing.
“I celebrate every day with my love as if it is the last day,” he says.
Valentine’s Day has been misunderstood to mean a day of pretence and showing off without an intimate meaning to love, he argues.
“To some people it means a day to have sex and noticeably pretend around their loved ones. As you may be aware, people have adopted many practices with no regard to the origin, this is why most follow practices just to be part of society without attaching any value,” he adds.
A journalist who chose to comment on grounds of anonymity shared her views saying that this day should only be celebrated by married people, or at least people who have been in long term relationships.
“You can’t be in a two-week relationship and then start celebrating Valentine’s Day. Because that’s not love, it is just a phase of excitement and butterflies in the stomach, also referred to as infatuation,” she says.
The journalist says she doesn’t mind celebrating this day, however, she says she wouldn’t do anything out of the ordinary.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Yes I celebrate the day. To me it’s an important day in a relationship, a day to show how much one cares for their partner. On this day, one gets to do something small or big out of the ordinary to please their partner. This Valentine’s Day, we will have dinner, we can’t miss this. It will also be a working day but I will send her flowers at work.
Frank Intare, Entrepreneur
I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because apart from being a day like any other, it’s not the day to prove or show love for people who are in romantic relationships. To me, every day should be a day to show love and care for loved ones.
Sam Asiimwe Ruhindi, Photographer and poet
I really don’t celebrate this day but I don’t mind those who do. It is a happy day where lovers make memories together. They spend some quality time together, marriages and relationships are made stronger on this day.
Diana Tumuhairwe, Cashier