14 February 2008

The Valentine Avalanche

Valentine’s Day is celebrated with a difference in Nigeria. Everyone celebrates it as if it’s Christmas. There is a happy Valentine’s Day wish awaiting you everywhere you go from all and sundry. I even got a happy Valentine’s wish from my broker and his sidekick. Explaining its importance, he told me of a friend who is closing early to celebrate Valentine with 'his children’. To my shock and horror, I also received a happy Valentine’s text message from a married lady who I know had no sinister motive. I was at a loss on how to respond to what is a perfectly an innocent message from another man’s wife.

I guess coming from England where Valentine's Day is strictly a private affair between couples who are romantically linked, it’s a culture shock to be confronted with this Valentine avalanche.

When I took this up with a cousin, he couldn’t understand why I was stressing. In Lagos, Valentine’s Day is seen as a time to show love to all, not just to someone with whom you are romantically linked. He explained that Churches send Valentine’s wishes to their congregations irrespective of relationship status or age.

Even children were asked to wear red to school today and to exchange gifts. This is another interesting aspect; Lagosians have somehow forced the colour red down the throat of St Valentine. My wife made the mistake of wearing a red blouse today and narrated her experience. People she met felt that she was celebrating Valentine’s Day. She was given a heart shaped pouch with a red ribbon containing sweets at the Corporate Office of Intercontinental Bank. Tied to the ribbon was this note:

‘With love from Intercontinental Bank PLC - Call Centre 01 277 2000’

There you go. If you need some love, contact Intercontinental Bank PLC Nigeria.

Not to be outdone, today’s newspapers were littered with ‘happy valentine’s messages from companies. I can understand that these things – Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter are now commercially driven, however I thought that Valentine’s Day is about romance. I guess with Lagos and Nigeria, I was wrong. As a true Lagosian therefore, this is to wish everybody a very Happy Valentine’s Day. PostCardfromLagos

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like this article and i fully understand why you are very cautious,if I were in your shoes I will feel the same way.
Allies from HQ :)

postcard said...

Curious about where the HQ is and who the allies are?

Anonymous said...

Happy Valentines Day!!!

da prince said...

we like to feelamong and act like we know even what we dont understand. lagos nawa oo!

O.A said...

Well, well, well:) Hope it is never too late to say Happy Valentine to you all. I had a nice time sharing my Valentine gift with over 200 people yesterday.....I really enjoyed it and i enjoyed your postcard too. Keep it up......by the way I am a Lagosian

James said...

I thought this was refreshingly funny. Give any celebration to Nigeria you can be rest assured that we never do anything half-heartedly

30+ said...

Ope o my mind is at ease now. Because my broker in lagos sent me happy valentine email card. It took me 36 hours to respond with these words "Thx". Don't blame me the guy is supposed to be married and I am like why he is sending me email.

Glad you guys are settling in well. Regards to Mrs T, alo ma dagbere.

Postcard from Lagos said...

Sorry o 30+ for your experience. ou can relax now

Anonymous said...

thats so true. i get love messages from everyone and anyone in nigeria. it never fails to amuse me

debbie said...

The fact remains that different strokes applies to different folks, thats the culture here in lagos and i think 90% of us must love it!

This is however an insightful article,and i like the humoue too, the comparism between christmas and valentine...its 2 days to go for another valentine and i wish ya all a happy valentine in advance!