Today is not an official holiday but the sales of roses, chocolates and greeting cards will keep the cash registers most busy compared to any other day of the year. Many Christians around the globe celebrate 14 February as Valentine’s Day, which was declared to be a religious holiday by Pope Gelasius at the end of the 5th century to commemorate the Feast of St. Valentine’s, the patron saint of love. Some Muslim countries however ban the celebration of Valentine’s because of their belief that it is against Islamic teachings and culture and a Western influence.
Valentine’s has so many reported origins, some historical, biblical, cultural, religious and several others, from murky romantic and mythical fantasies with the same message of love. It was written that the Emperor Claudius, an adopted grandson of Augustus, believed that men were unwilling to become or were bad soldiers because of marriage and family. During his reign, he forbade his Roman soldiers from getting married. A Catholic priest named Valentine defied this decree and secretly solemnized marriages among soldiers. Emperor Claudius discovered his activities, had him imprisoned and beheaded.
Among all stories on the origin of Valentine’s, this particular Roman military episode inspired to this day all believers in celebrating Valentine’s to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice by a man in the name of love.
This special day has become a huge commercial success for Hallmark, the purveyor of greeting cards, and recorded the sales of Valentine’s card as the second biggest sale of cards after Christmas.
It has printed and aggressively advertised witty, funny and romantic prose to encourage the sale of greeting cards to celebrate Valentine’s, Christmas, grandfather, grandmother, mother, father, best friend, birthday, graduation, anniversary, birth of first child, thanksgiving and any special day it deems important to remember.
But many entrepreneurs are unaffected by this aggressive promotions by Hallmark and observe Valentine’s Day as part of their good corporate governance.
They time the giving out of awards and recognitions to deserving employees on Valentine’s Day. Some join in the partaking of special snacks with their workers, granting a one-day French leave for their employees to be taken any day during the year, giving token gifts and conducting other company-wide activities to celebrate Valentine’s each in their own personal and unique style.
Hopefully these Valentine’s practices by enterprises will not be viewed disparagingly by militant unions as mere tokenism, because they significantly contribute to strengthen the fraternity and family spirit in the workplace. Such bonding events have proven to enhance the productivity of workers and reduce friction between management and labor.
It would be a great day for tripartism and industrial peace when unions and management will one day soon celebrate Valentine’s Day together as a team working collectively to achieve company goals in a most effective and efficient way.
On that note, let me greet our social partners and our associates in the workplace a Happy Valentine’s Day.
But most importantly as a husband, father and grandfather, I lovingly greet my forever valentine, Mila (my wife), our three children and six grandchildren another sweet and memorable day today in all ways and for always.