By Aningo Genevieve Ezinne
Hurray! Hip! Hip! Another valentine has just bided us farewell and in its usual nature was dramatic as always.
The annual rites which usually precede the events were also performed. Religious faiths were game, parents fastened their aprons and chains, lovers were dreamy and the sugar daddies and honey mummies were boxed up. I almost forgot the red and white sheets producing firms, I presume they also tripled production.
Every item did appear in red, name it- pants, bras, boxers, sexy gowns, men’s suits, shirts, sandals, shoes, heels and so on. I won’t be startled if someone tells me she got red chocolates on the D-day. The universe was painted red and white, regardless that red’s prominent meaning is danger. Perhaps the associate colour; white is to make it subtle or the red theme is simply to remind us that wherever there is love there is also misery.
If you reside in Nigeria, you would have observed that our religious faiths especially the Christians did not relent in their mission to establish upright worshippers. Their trumpets and tambourines were in the streets.
They were sermonizing almsgiving to the needy and families as the only way to indicate love. In worst scenario, they did not believe that a Valentine’s Day even existed. It is a pagan tradition and must not be observed by a Christian. I can cross my fingers (judging from the numerous one in my neigbourhood), that most churches held programmes prior to that day; if not, programmes that came to a halt on the 14th. All in a bid to shut off Valentine’s groove.
The startling part was the titles of most church programmes. I have read tags such as – “our love is not of this world, declare NO to valentine, Believer where is thy love? – In pleasures or in spirits, valentine is not a fruit of the just” and others that my amused self couldn’t keep record of.
Then when we inquired about this celebration in our African homes; another drama unfolded. Parents turned to unsolicited love counselors even those that barely share love gist with their children. This was the period our African parents suddenly woke up and realized their role in total child upbringing in a cordial manner. Regardless, it still sucked with many parents, that African parent trait is still dominant. The summary of every speech or family meeting held within this period equaled to avoid boys, pregnancy knows no bounds! Girls are Satans in disguise; I have no money for dowry. Even for a 24- year old female, the theme of the message never changed. I dream of the time our African parents would be English and whisper the words “Amaka, who are you bringing home tonight, is he handsome and tall?
Kayode, who is your date tonight, make sure you get her beautiful flowers. Aisha, tell me young lady did you at least get a kiss today”? If these words ever proceed from every African parent, the president must declare a national holiday to commemorate such change. Maybe your parents are those who were not influenced by trends or simply kept mute.
They pretended to ignore the season. Believe me they were watchful like CCTV camera and any silly move did land you in a hot session. Maybe the 14th was the day traffic unusually decided to delay your return and unluckily you exceeded your curfew with an hour. The rest became a sad tale as long as you were late on Valentine’s Day.
It was barely overlooked. You may have the smart-ass parents who without any authentic reasons dished out errands on that day. They just had to claim that the errands were piled up.
It was impossible for them to attend to all or even leave some aside for another day. Then you my friend became the errand helping agent and neglecting to do it on Valentine’s Day made you disobedient. No way! 14th is the one and only final day set aside for that task to be resolved. I guess I would be a smart ass parents if my African nature can’t let me be. Notwithstanding, some parents are different from these scenarios and if you have one; grin but if you don’t, still grin. Parents are priceless parents.
Another trend was the visits of secondary schools by non governmental agencies. I can recall the Valentine’s Day that four different NGO’S beseeched by sec. school in my SS2 class. I went home with lots of goodies but my ears were heavy as the four agencies were all geared towards ex-communicating the opposite sex except for academic and spiritual reasons. Shun boys like a plague.
Don’t look at girls. One NGO even gave a scenario of ‘agege’ bread and other brand breads. They concluded that all girls are branded but some in the spirit of Valentine becomes ‘agege’ bread by following boys (yes, ‘following’ was the word used to suggest having a sexual affair with a boy) but the true branded breads are those girls’ resistant to valentines. Jeez! I can’t believe those sermons those days were like goldmines to my ears. Growth is good.
In my undergraduate days, what was common were visits to orphanage homes, countless church programs with no obvious different theme and strategy (stay in church, so that your flesh wont mingle) and the unsurprisingly take outs by your lover. I am yet to experience an unusual valentine and most times I blame my geography.
Assuming, I reside in Sweden, Geneva or in the city of love itself, Paris; I am so sure I would have had the valentine of my dreams. I don’t know what would tick it for me. Customized earrings and under wears? My own chocolates with my name inscribed on it? Produced for only me and would be consumed only by my loyal self. What about shutting down a cinema and paying for it all, so that just I and you would have quality privacy. I love classy gestures.
Perhaps a rollercoaster ride in Disney land (I love my huge dreams; go dream yours). Please do not go yelling at me that love must not be depicted with material items. I am aware, I crave for loyalty, honesty, affection but sweetheart I still need material items as much as I need food for survival.
Be that as it is; my valentine’s deals are still open. After all, love should be in and out of season. It should not be an only 14th February ceremony. We should keep to heart that Valentine’s Day is not the only day set aside to extend love to fellow humans. If that is it, since the ceremony is history this year; should declare hate days till the rest of the year? No! So, whether you are my foe, a friend, a brother, my parent, a sister, my crush; whoever you are my happiness should matter to you. This is because Christ commanded us to love all humans irrespective of your feelings. Call me; I would be more than glad! You need not be my lover to humble yourself and do such.
I am a female, a Capricorn and a circle faced fair complexioned creature. People often say I have a little sense of humour but I can’t still take a stake on that. I attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I studied mass communication. Other lower education took place in Lagos. I would never shut off my eyes to a cup of steaming bland coffee.