By Omilla Mungroo. The shabbily dressed, unshaven old man who delivered the flowers, looked at me as if I was from Mars! Of course they were for me, I thought, but who sent them? There were three red roses, two pink and one white rose, two white and two pink carnations, and two yellow water lilies, all carefully arranged amidst different shapes and sizes of green fern shooting out from the pretty bouquet! All these so neatly tied with a golden ribbon! How extravagant, I thought, pondering who would send me fresh-cut flowers, and on Valentine’s Day.
Being a single mother, I was wary and skeptical about matters that may affect my heart, since I needed to think to stay level-headed. The woman at the desk, who called me to receive it, looked at me and smiled, as I tried to search through the flowers to see if there was some kind of note or something to suggest who the sender could possibly be. I didn’t see it till I was back in the office where I worked. It was just so cool since it was the first time I got flowers, and I would definitely have to tell the guy thanks. It was a friendly gesture, and I hoped it was just that.
How many ladies in Trinidad and Tobago receive flowers on Valentine’s Day, I wondered.
Well after doing a little research I found out that Valentine’s Day dates all the way back to the fifth century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St Valentine’s Day. However, it was earlier seen as a pagan celebration of Lupercalia, which was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. It was also dedicated to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
The actual St Valentine’s death though, was said to have occurred around AD 270. There were three stories of this Valentine guy – a patron saint, they say; each one with different angles to it. One was said to be martyred for the lover he couldn’t have. Another story suggests he was a priest who defied the then Emperor of Rome, Emperor Claudius, who ruled out marriage for men who served in the military. Yet another was told of a Valentine who may have been killed for trying to help Christians escape from prisons in Rome where they were tortured.
It was later outlawed by Pope Gelasius, as un-Christian to celebrate his death. During the Middle Ages, in France and England, February 14 was believed to be the start of the birds’ mating season, hence, the romantic significance to the date.
Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world with much romantic appeal. No one really bats an eyelid to wonder how and when and why it all started. Trinbagonians are no exception. In Trinidad and Tobago, red is the colour everywhere on February 14. Candies, chocolates, stuffed teddies, flowers, even lingerie are the order of the day. Who really wants to know where it all started? Just bring the chocolates, the flowers and the gifts!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
February 2014 – Issue 8 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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