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Opinions of Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Columnist: Elvis Effah

Will you be my Valentine?

The season of merry is here again. In no time, the town will be flooded with red and white. Every Tom, Dick and Harry in every nook and cranny of the town will zap into the various malls in search of yummy chocolates and candy.

A day like this will forever remain in the archives of some people. During august occasions as this, everything is capable of happening. Hearts will be tied to hearts and bodies and souls will be kneaded together.

Wow! Quite thrilling and enjoyable. Isn't it? During this day, some spot their love ones and to others, it's a mess. Uncountable are those whose abodes will be flooded with teddy bears, flowers, red hearts and romance.

Many are those itching to see the brightness of this day with sleepless nights. Wait a minute! In celebrating VAL'S Day, many questions come to mind. Who was this mysterious man-Valentine? What's the story behind the man whose name has echoed across countries and centuries?

Approximately, about 150 million cards are exchanged annually making Valentine's Day the second most popular card- sending holiday after Christmas. In A.D 270, history contends that, valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome in the regime of Emperor Claudius ii. Emperor Claudius believed that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families; he therefore forfeited these youngsters of their marital rites.

According to Claudius, these energetic and exuberant youth should devote their entire life as soldiers for the nation. With this policy, single women were paraded in an arena for the soldiers to choose their partners for a night.

This was done annually so as to compensate those young men who existed only for war. Valentine as at those days realizing the vile and bizarre nature of this decree, defied the orders of Claudius and continued to officiate marriages for young lovers in secret. Luck eluded valentine. Claudius ordered that valentine be put to death when his actions were discovered.

History has it that the day before his execution, he wrote a letter to a girl he loved, possibly his jailer's daughter who visited him during his confinement. This tantalizing letter was signed "from your valentine" an expression that is still in use today. Although this story may be murky, but it really emphasized his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and most importantly, a romantic figure.

This was what valentine stood for in his time. On various campuses, VAL'S Day is used as a medium to package "unpackageable" gifts, to express our amorous desires. But dare to be different this time. Let this day be used to reach out to the impoverished ones in the hood who squeeze water out of stone in order to make ends meet.

Those on the streets of our various campuses and cities are also major fragments of our world. "Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone- we find it with another" so says Thomas Merton an American Catholic writer and a mystic.