Valentine Day is a unique day that is celebrated on February 14th. People in the United States, Canada, Australia and most European countries celebrate Val’s Day.

In Nigeria and other African countries, Valentine day has also been embraced and celebrated with pomp and pageantry.

Many people send greeting cards called Valentine’s to sweethearts,friends and family members. Some people send flowers or Candy to their wives,husbands,friends or sweethearts. Many Valentine candy boxes are heart shaped and adorned with red ribbon.

I recall with nostalgic how Valentine Day was celebrated during my secondary school days in the early60s-70s. Some days before February 14th,wrapped papers with the inscriptions of names of all students and staff would be passed round the school for all to pick a name. The name of the one you picked became your Valentine. On the Val Day itself,everybody would sit in a circumference on the school’s pitch or playground as the chief organizer opened the show ,mentioned his own name and requested to know his Valentine. His Valentine would emerge and they would exchange gifts or handshake. And this would go round until everybody was able to know and met with his or her Valentine. It was all fun lazed with light refreshment and we all looked forward to the D.DAY.

No one knows for sure how Valentine’s Day started. The idea of sending greetings on Valentine’s Day goes back more than a hundred years ago. Some people think this idea may have come from from events  in the life of saint Valentine, a Christian Saint.

One story says that Valentine was a friend of many children. The Romans put him in prison because he believed in Jesus Christ and would not pray to Roman gods. The children missed Valentine and tossed loving notes to him through the windows of his jail cell.This story may explain why people send messages on Valentine Day.

Valentine cards were first sold in the early 18000’s. Many of them were blank inside, leaving a space for the sender to write a message.

Kate Greenaway, a British artist, became famous for her Valentine’s in the late 1800’s. Many of her cards had pictures of happy children and lovely gardens.Valentine’s include both humorous and romantic cards. Special ones are printed for sweethearts and for husbands,wives and relatives.

In Nigeria today,Val Day had been adopted and taken seriously. Lovers meet on February 14th every year to” show their love” for one another. Cinema houses, Malls are visited. They hold hands ,go for shopping and end up in one another arms. Some may be lucky to meet new friends  on Val’s day. Many of the Val’s cards they give read”BE MY VALENTINE”

As you mark this year Valentine Day on February 14 ,remember to show love to your friends and neighbours. Beware  of lust and don’t borrow  unnecessarily to celebrate Valentine day-It is just a day.Husbands,wives,you are to show love and care always to your spouse and not just on February 14 alone. May the brotherly and sisterly love continue. Remember and love your country Nigeria too by doing the right thing to change it for better.

Happy Valentine Day.

By-Akintunde Idowu

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