The colors of Valentine’s Day

ESSENCE - Liagaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - February 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Some blamed Valentine’s Day to have caused the traffic. Street vendors were busy as they sold flowers, chocolates, and other items so commuters have something to give to their loved ones once they arrive at their meeting places or homes. One mall that I visited looked like Carbon as flowers and other gift items were being put on the market right at the entrance area. Cars leading to restaurants, motels, and parks were similarly evident.


The scenario is not uncommon every time we celebrate the day of hearts. And it is also expected that the prices of presents will go up to inconceivable levels. It was one whole red day.

From an agnostic fertility custom to being built up as a feast day on the Catholic Calendar of Saints, and as the poet Chaucer in the Middle Ages who was the first to link St. Valentine with romantic love, this celebration has turned out to be so marketed and being looked forward among sweethearts.

Believing the early Christian Church, we owe it to the priest, Valentine, who was martyred in the third century AD by the second Roman emperor. The priest resisted the law which precluded the right of marriage to young people as it was believed that solitary men were bound to set out their lives for Rome than wedded men.

In general, Valentine’s Day is a special day to celebrate romance and love. It is usually celebrated by giving significant others flowers and gifts to demonstrate their affection.

Studies point to the thought processes for gift giving by young males on Valentine's Day and the custom by controlling for the giving context. Inspirations depend on commitment, self-interest and altruism. More significantly, it focuses on finding that singular inspiration for the gift-giving custom on Valentine's Day might be all the more complicatedly entwined and have further manifestations in the perceived social power connection between the sexes.

In Japan, for instance, Valentine’s Day is a culturally-hybridized and popularly-celebrated consumption ritual. Its historical transformation is based on a visual and textual analysis of advertisements in print media over the years. Changes in the meanings, functions, and structure of gift-giving rituals correspond to changes in the national economy, social values, consumer ideology, and gender roles and power relationships.

In Ghana, years ago, this custom was first introduced during the colonial period in English colonial schools such as Achimota and became widespread in secondary schools in Accra during the 1970s and 1980s. Since the beginning of the 1990s, it has been popularized through advertising at first on the radio, then later in newspaper advertisements. A striking feature of this new, popularized festival is that greater importance is attached to sexuality. An undertone of scandal can be heard in discussions of Valentine’s Day, whether in interviews with parents, teachers, and young people themselves, or in public discussions on the radio and in the newspapers.

The changes of the motivations and on how we celebrate the occasion may be varied but its essential core remains unchanged. And this is to express one’s truthful feelings toward our loved ones, be it opposite sex, our siblings, children, neighbors, relatives, friends and parents. After all, love is for everybody.

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