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Sierra Leone News: Happy Valentine’s Day

It’s time for romance. It’s time for love. It’s time to share, celebrate, get together and spend time with those we love.
Each year on February 14th, people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century.
The history of Valentine’s Day – and the story of its patron saint – is shrouded in mystery.
We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s
Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl – possibly his jailor’s daughter – who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.
Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and, most importantly, romantic man.
The other possibility is that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.
Lupercalia was outlawed and deemed “un-Christian” at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
Quotes to woo your loved ones:
Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. Mother Theresa
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. Martin Luther King Jr.
If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.
Maya Angelou
All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.
Charles M. Shultz
A knife cuts butter but can’t cut love. Sierra Leone
Take me to the river and wash my mouth with kisses. Sierra Leone
When one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow. Ethiopia
Sugar is sweet but our love is sweeter. Sierra Leone
You know who you love but you can’t know who loves you. Nigeria
Where there is love, there is no darkness. Burundi
If you marry a monkey for its wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains. Egypt
If love is a sickness, patience is the remedy. Cameroon
If a woman doesn’t love you, she calls you “brother.” Côte d’Ivoire
I love you like the fish love water. Sierra Leone
The quarrel of lovers is the renewal of love. Morocco
Let your love be like the misty rain, coming softly but flooding the river. Liberia
Love for something makes a man blind and deaf. Sudan
If the full moon loves you, why worry about the stars? Tunisia
Love doesn’t listen to rumors. Ghana
Love, like rain, does not choose the grass on which it falls. South Africa
Wednesday February 14, 2018.

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