When you think of the second month of the New Year, the first thing that comes to mind is the feast of Saint Valentine that is commemorated around the world on February 14. In our country, in addition to commemorating Operation Fenkil, when we think of February, we remember Valentine’s Day, the month that grants us a golden opportunity to officially express our love to those we adore.
For those in love, nothing compares to the joy of spending the day with a loved one. For years, people around the world have always celebrated Valentine’s Day with pomp and color, accompanied by gifts. This year however, it will be a celebration like no other. The resilience of the human spirit has been tested to its limits. For some, the pandemic has meant spending an unprecedented time with loved ones at home, while for others, the lockdown means spending long moments away from loved ones.
Valentine’s Day traces its origins from the Roman festival of Lupercalia. Although the day came to be celebrated as that of romance from around the 14th century, it was at the end of the 5th century (AD 496) that Pope Gelasius replaced the festival of Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. Although the day is not commemorated as a public holiday in any country, it is recognized as a significant cultural celebration of romance in many parts of the world and is marked by people sending gifts and greetings of love. Such gifts include red roses, which are symbols of enduring passion to profess undying love. Other symbols include Cupid, the son of Venus, the Goddess of love, chocolates which are associated with fertility, greeting cards, love knots and love birds which signify everlasting fidelity and love.
Although Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14, it is preceded by the Valentine’s week, where lovers have an opportunity to gift one another through the 7 day period starting on February 7, usually marked as the Rose Day. This is followed by the proposal day on February 8, chocolate day on February 9, teddy bear day on February 10, and promise, hug and kiss day on February 11 – 13 respectively.
Although it is not widely practiced, young couples in our country started celebrating Valentine’s Day in recent years. On this day, just like the rest of the world, couples go out on dates in various places to celebrate their love wearing red outfits to different places. Some go to calm restaurants, some are seen holding hands and flirting on the streets and others go to snack bars and lounges. The cafes on the streets are decorated with sparkling lights and red heart shaped balloons. There are also places that have special night events with discounted entrance fees for couples.
As we know, people usually express their wishes and show their care by exchanging gifts, going on dates, having dinner at restaurants, visiting places and so on, which usually involve physical contacts. But unfortunately, this time around, things have changed due to COVID-19, which doesn’t allow us to express our affection physically. So let’s be together through our hearts.
It might be cold like the winter and may seem like a maze with a dead-end. Our hearts might crumble knowing that we won’t be with those we love but with our answerless echoes. In times like these, let’s provide our love for one another, especially today, through our smart phones even if we might still feel very distant. When all of this finally ends we are going to be together again. Everything is going to go back to normal, but until then send your dearest wishes to your forever Valentine from home. Happy Valentine’s Day!