“Wow! You were born on Valentine’s Day? You must be quite lucky!” “Celebrating your birthday on a lover’s day? Choose your ‘struggle’.” “This is a lie; you cannot be born on a Valentine’s Day!” “Your parents should have named you Valentine.” “I cannot forget your birthday because it falls on a Valentine’s Day”. “I’ll send my birthday wishes earlier to avoid ‘traffic’ on Valentine’s Day.”
These are the kind of statements I get whenever my acquaintances learn that I celebrate my birthday on one of the most talked about day in the month of February – Valentine’s, a day synonymous with love, for lovers. Sometimes I have to show my identity card as proof that it was not my decision to jet into this world on this lucky day! Sigh.
Wikipedia describes the day as Feast of Saint Valentine, whose origin was a “minor Western Christian feast day honouring one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and through later folk traditions, has become a significant cultural, religious and commercial celebration of love in many regions of the world”.
February is a relatively good month to many, as it is the second month of the year, according to the Gregorian Calendar, having pulled through to the infamous January or ‘njaanuary’ associated with economic hardship just after the December festivities.
Come the week of love, where all merchandise is awash with red or pink themed gifts, roses, candy, and other surprises that lovers go an extra mile to impress their heartbeats and valuable humans in the whole wide world with.
We, the February 14 born babies, do not refute that this is an impressive and occasional way to strengthen relationship and family bonds; though it should be an everyday gesture too.
One of my networks asked, “Are you going to celebrate your birthday on February 15 instead?” No, please. Despite the fact that our special birthdays are overshadowed by Valentine’s Day, we choose attitude for gratitude. We also choose to allow the joys of celebrating a year older amidst all hullabaloos of red theme colour, high cost of food in already cash-starved households, charged political atmosphere and embracing the ‘new’ or ‘next’ normal in the Covid-19 pandemic.
See, according to Horoscope, the Aquarius zodiac sign shows that they have very strong traits; progressive, intelligent, independent and are humanitarian. They are ambiverts who love to be social but also value spending some time alone in order to restore ‘power’. They are also brutally honest, which many close to them interpret as aggressiveness or rudeness. They are also known to be shy and quiet but great problem solvers, as they are able to see without prejudice on both sides.
Just the other day, I laughed at some people I know who were born in late December after one of them complained that we forget their birthdays because of Christmas season. But now is our turn to be ignored because most Valentine’s Day babies know February 14 is not as rosy as it should be.
Our news feeds on social media will be awash with more ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ photos and wishes than our ‘Happy Birthday’ messages. Birthday gifts will have built-in love theme or wrapped in Valentine’s gift boxes.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, this will be the first Valentine’s Day (and birthday celebrations) since social distancing, hygiene protocols and curfew restrictions began. It is important that people have meaningful and realistic celebrations taking into consideration that coronavirus infections could rise on this day.
It is also an opportune time to support the hospitality industry which is on the road to recovery, with the Valentine’s (and birthday) lunches and dinners. Extend support to those gift shops and flower vendors. Being on a Sunday, it will be interesting to see how businesses, hotels, religious institutions will celebrate this special day especially in Nairobi’s Central Business District that usually largely deserted on that day.
As celebrations continue throughout the month, it is also worth to note that February 15 is International Childhood Cancer Day, a global collaborative campaign to raise awareness about little known and undetected cancer that occurs to many children during their childhood.
Spread love and cheer to those children and adolescents with cancer, survivors and their close families. During my birthday last year, I joined Cancer Information Support Network Communications led by a cancer survivor Jane Frances Angalia and team in visiting the children’s cancer ward at Kenyatta National Hospital. While this year is difficult to bond with the children due to Covid-19, their families continuously require financial and emotional support too.
Back to the wicked-smart, passionate and humanitarian Valentine’s Day babies, we will still send our best wishes to all on this auspicious day as long as you consider our birthday celebrations too.
Cheers to all fellow February 14-ers!
Ms Mathu is a communications and public relations specialist