Friday the 14th day of February is St Valentine’s days, a day set aside every year to celebrate love. The origin of this practice is shrouded in controversy, while some believe it is a Roman pagan ritual of Lupercalia which involves fertility rites and paring off of men and women in a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be coupled up for the duration of the festival or longer, if the match was right. Others believe it is celebrated to remember the martyrdom of St Valentine, an icon of love and service to humanity who was executed by Emperor Claudius II.

Today, it has been commercialised; businesses like florist, perfumers, distillers, hoteliers and clothiers thrive at the expense of the real reason for the season, LOVE. It is now more about presents, dinner dates and pictures for social media, what the day truly stands for has been replaced with fake temporary affection and the lust for carnal pleasure and greed for material gain. Most people in their error of judgment believe that a person’s failure or inability to be present or give presents to a lover on that day means lack of affection or love. The fact that a person gives you presents or manages to make themselves available on the 14th does not mean you are loved, a person’s affection and love should only be evaluated over a long period of time, not what they do in one day.

So many people will be deceived with pretence, presents and presence, and in the euphoria, they will forget to ask where the sudden affection and presents have been over the past year. Sometimes, this ephemeral affection and attention will fade with the day and the person will vanish into the shadows from where they came, leaving behind a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Some will be stretched to the limits, forced to spend money they can’t afford just to be part of the madness to please a person who may or may not appreciate the gesture. It is a beautiful thing to love sincerely and be loved in return, don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to show how much you care.

I am one of those who believe that everyday should be St Valentine’s Day for true lovers, spending time with each other, exchange of gifts and show of affection should not be confined to one day of the year. If you must celebrate, then let it be a day to rekindle the romance in your relationship and not a one day event for photo opportunities, if you cannot sustain it beyond Valentine’s Day, don’t deceive yourself and others. Stringing people along with a dubious promise of love and providence just to have a valentine is mean and heartless. It is Lovers day, let nothing but true love shine through.

Do not be pressured into entering a relationship just to be seen to have a valentine or to receive gifts. Remember, you are better off being on your own than living with the regret of having a one night stand in your attempt to be part of the 14th February gang. The serial Valentine day Fraudster’s are on the prowl again, they will use the trappings of presents and presence to temporarily fill the emotional vacuum created by the season in order to take advantage of you, only to disappear after the 14th. Be careful, this whole pandemonium will be over in 24 hours but the catastrophic affects on our emotions, finances, jobs and relationships will linger for many months.

If you have work to do, do it, if you are a student face your studies, being with your date, spouse or partner for one day of the year will not change your marriage or dating fortunes. While you bask in the euphoria of having your partner to yourself on the 14th, focus on their antecedents during the past few months, that’s who they are. If you are lucky to have a person who has been consistent in love and care over the past year, then relish the day, renew your promises of continued commitment to each other. If you have just started a relationship, the activities of the 14th in isolation doesn’t mean diddly-squat, it usually takes much more than that to know for sure if a person truly cares about you – Sir Stanley Ekezie

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