A room lit with an expensive perfume engraved with the mark of intense excitement.
A bouquet of red roses with a scent that stirs up a romantic mood. A delicious meal and a bottle of wine to fuel one’s affection for another.
These characterize the popular colorful paint-box of which Romantics are the usual artists painting a beautiful picture on this popular day associated with love and romance.
This day has gained so much popularity and is celebrated by people of varying faiths across the world including people with no religious faith. ‘Valentine’s Day is what it has come to be termed as and 14th February is the date set apart for it.
There are several legends that are believed to have been the origin of this day.
It is believed that the lover’s day goes back as early as 270 AD in Rome and started with the clash between a Priest called Valentine and a mighty ruler by the name of Claudius II who ruled Rome during that time.
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, were 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 jailer’s daughter who visited him during his confinement.
Before his death it is alleged that he sent the first ‘valentine’ himself when he wrote the girl a love letter, and signed it ‘from your Valentine’, that is, the very words still used on cards today.
Precious Kalaba, a third year student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with Education at the University of Zambia is one of the participants of this annual celebration and she believes that it is right for people to be celebrating Valentine’s Day.
“I like this celebration because it makes me expectant of what a loved one would offer me and the event creates a platform for people to express the love and care they have for each other,” she says.
The 2016 Miss UNZA Congeniality recalls how she has been celebrating Valentine’s Day by going out for a movie or dinner and explains that receiving special gifts on this day widens her smile.
“Chocolates and roses are my favorite Valentine’s Day gifts,” Kalaba states as her eyes light up with joy at the mere thought of the scene.
And Father Roy Thaden of University of Zambia (UNZA) Catholic Chaplaincy reveals that there have been different traditions pertaining to Valentine’s Day and there is no strong evidence for most of these beliefs as they have been built up and magnified by people over many years.
He explains that Valentine’s Day was basically a catholic celebration of the power of God working through St. Valentines and some Catholics used to and still pray through the saint to ask God for blessings upon their loved ones.
Fr Thaden, however notes that the celebration has been commercialized by the world and diverted from being the holy feast it once was.
“We as a church find it very demoralizing to keep celebrating Valentine’s Day because of its modern day misinterpretation of merely buying gifts for one another or committing adultery,” he strongly states.
The Chaplain says that the church currently only holds mass and acknowledges Valentines or merely makes reference to him during this day.
He adds that there is no harm in celebrating the feast if done while upholding moral standards.
“It is right to celebrate Valentine’s Day as long as people express their love towards one another in ways that reflect the glory of God,” Fr Thaden says.
Meanwhile, Pastor Isaac Machisa of Eagles Christian Centre says that there is no biblical reason to why Christians should celebrate Valentine’s Day but those who do so should not be demonized.
He stresses that people should express love for one another everyday instead of waiting for Valentine’s Day for them to do so.
Pastor Machisa notes that the popular Valentine’s Day practice has been driven by worldly standards and barely reflects love from a Christian perspective.
“Love is beyond romance and gifts for it is possible for one to buy a gift for another and yet not feel loved. Love must be a lifestyle for everyone and not merely an act on one particular day,” he explains.
He adds that God’s love for man is demonstrated every day and every Christian should therefore emulate God and teach the world what love is by living it.
“Jesus Christ gave us a new commandment that we may love one another just as he loves us. Only love will make the world know that we are God’s children,” states Pastor Machisa in explaining Christian love.
And Koloto Aggrey Daka, a marriage counsellor who is happily married also gives his perspective of Valentine’s Day explaining that him and his beautiful wife do not celebrate it but have at times been present in situations that call for their presence.
“My wife and I don’t celebrate Valentines, but at times we have been found at such events organized by my employers or the church. However, we do not take extra effort in organizing such, and we do not condemn those that go an extra mile to celebrate Valentine,” he says.
The counsellor further explains that the issue of celebrating Valentines should not breed questions of whether it is right or not but of who the participant is and how he or she celebrates the event.
Daka cites a married couple deciding to go for dinner, later booking a lodge and spending a night away from home in order to appreciate the love and care for each other as an acceptable way of appreciating one another.
The counsellor encourages married couples to be appreciating one another more often in special ways on any ordinary day rather than limiting the gesture to only special days such as Valentines.
He however, condemns the trending modern scene of celebrating Valentines noting that it is unorthodox to Christian beliefs.
“If unmarried couples go out to drink and have sex in the name of Valentines, I absolutely condemn the participants in the celebration and not the day,” he says.
The highly celebrated event has grown to be portrayed in the eye of society as a day of ‘love’ and thus, it’s’ foundation of love has been laced with ‘sex’, that is, the common perception of expressing love.
Daka attributes it to the media and how it advertises celebrating of Valentine’s feast as love expressed through intimacy.
He further explains that celebrating Valentines mainly benefits business men and women selling various special gifts as they gain financially.
“The celebration only attracts extra expenditure and debts to a common Zambian especially a student,” Daka says.
This event is the world’s second largest seasonal card sending time of the year. As people decide to exchange warm gestures of love, it is hoped for that the right mode of doing so forms the bedrock of their mindset.
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FIFA GRASSROOTS PROJECT DUE FOR TAKE OFF
The Ministry of Sports and FAZ has laid the ground for FIFA spearheaded grassroots project for youth development.
Ministry of Sports Permanent Secretary Agness Musunga said the project will be under the wings of the Ministry of Education and will target youth from eight years going upwards.
The tripartite agreement will be signed next Wednesday and will formalize the commitment of the parties to work together to implement the FIFA Grassroots Project from 2017-2020.
“The FIFA Grassroots project will cover three parties which is Ministry of Education, Sports and FAZ,” she said.
And FAZ General Secretary Ponga Liwewe said that the project will enhance the development of football.
Liwewe said the move was part of the wider goal of FAZ to develop youth football.
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga put youth football on top of his developmental agenda pinning it among his three key areas that involved league restructuring, referees education and youth football on top of his transparency gospel.
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FIFA RESPONDS TO FAZ COMPLAINT ON NIGERIA APPEAL
FIFA has put a close to the debate around the complaint lodged by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) over an Augustine Mulenga disallowed goal in the 1-0 loss against Nigeria in a Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier on October 7.
The World soccer governing body has ruled that it would not act on the complaint as per their regulations there was no evidence of external influence or manipulation.
According to a letter signed by Disciplinary Committee vice chairperson Julien Deux, dated October 17, 2017 there could be no action as guided by article 5.6 of the FIFA regulations the referee’s decision is final.
“In this context, we refer your association to article 15 par 6, of the regulations of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, which clearly stipulates that no protests may be made about the referee’s decisions regarding facts connected with play. Such decisions are final and not subject to appeal,” stated the letter.
“Having said that, and for the sake of good order, we would like to emphasize that on the basis of the documentation and information currently in our possession, there is no evidence of any infringement of the applicable regulations by the referees of the match in question.”
The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) filed a complaint with FIFA seeking an independent review of the match officiated by Botswana referee Joshua Bondo.
There was widespread outcry for FAZ to appeal to FIFA over the disallowed goal with parallels drawn with other situations where the world soccer governing body had ordered replays.
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga had told journalists on the permutations of the outcome when journalists pressed him in the aftermath of the match in Uyo.
“But the rules being what they are you cannot overturn the decision of the referee,” Kamanga said.
“The only basis is when there was external influence. So the referee maybe carpeted for making a wrong decision but the decision still stands and unfortunately that is where we stand.”
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