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In Summary

• The history of celebration of Valentine Day is an interesting one with no romantic origin.

• Today, Valentine Day is celebrated globally as a day of love and the holiday is indeed big business.

Red roses at a florist in Nairobi.Photo/File

Red roses at a florist in Nairobi.Photo/File

Celebrating Valentine’s Day

Have you received a rose today? Love is in the air. Today is 14th February, Valentine’s Day a day perceived for signifying love and affection.

Valentine’s Day is largely inferred as an annual festival to celebrate romantic love, friendship and admiration. Every year on 14th February, many celebrate this day by exchange of gifts, cards and messages of love to their loved ones.

Valentine & Flowers Link

The history of celebration of Valentine Day is an interesting one with no romantic origin. It is something akin to a horror folk story but to be discussed another day.

Today, Valentine Day is celebrated globally as a day of love and the holiday is indeed big business.

The commercialization that comes with this celebration is astounding. There are many who are of the stance that valentine is never quite valentine without flowers.

Mr Bett Ayrton, CEO and CO-Founder of Purpink, a leading online gift store in Kenya says that Valentine Period is one of their busiest calendar days’ in the year and the Company is compelled to hire extra hands and stretch in order to meet demand and maintain their standards even as they serve their clientele.

Even with a wide array choice of gifts, roses, in particular red roses attract the highest of sales on the 14th of February.

Flowers Significance

Apart from flowers having both a cultural and religious significance, they have also other purposes.

Flowers are displayed in weddings, religious places such as the church and even in burial ceremonies.

How can something be used in such diverse and contrasting manners? Flowers also semblance beauty and different types of flowers are used in various joyful ceremonious from graduations, weddings, inaugurations of any sort.

Flowers, African History

In African cultural history, flowers were not as revered. Jared Ongwae Mekenye, a businessman and Political Influencer who hails from Nyamira County rubbishes the culture of celebrating Valentine and refers to the trend as foreign, cosmetic and meaningless.

Mr Mekenye accentuates that his preference for the day would be providing for his family as he normally does and perhaps purchasing a dress for his wife instead of purchasing roses which are not only inedible but also wither with time.

He is steadfast that buying of flowers is a waste of money and a foreign un-African concept which many are blindly following and holds the view that many relationship break-ups are nowadays accelerated by a focus on worthless things and lack of attention to what matters.

His argument is that he never saw his father or grandfather buying flowers but their families never lacked.

As by his creed, a man best shows love by being a responsible man and by meeting his families’ needs and not giving flowers on a specific day.

Socio-Economic Importance of Flowers

Floriculture is a thriving sector in Kenya. Kenya is one of the biggest flower exporters in the world and the lead exporter of rose-cut flowers to the European Union.

Among the major types of flowers grown in Kenya include main-cut flowers such as: roses, carnations and lilies. It is reported that Kenya’s flowers are sold in more than 60 countries.

The industry provides employment to more than 2 million both directly and indirectly.

Flowers and biodiversity

Flowers play a big role in biodiversity and conservation. The role of flowers in nature cannot be undermined.

Flowers feed insects thus creating pollinator host platforms and providing a crucial ecosystem service.

Flowers also feed birds, animals and humans too. Flowers are also sourced for medicinal purposes and further are attractive and good to look upon hence aesthetic purposes.

Give Your Loved one A flower Any day

Professional athlete and author Brian Clough id known for the famous quote; “Don’t send me flowers when I’m dead. If you like me, send them while I’m alive.”

This is a most loaded quoted, as most dead people receive flowers and kind words when dead than when alive and the reason is simple, Regret is stronger than gratitude.

So dear reader, if you can, appreciate a loved not only today but every day for no particular reason but for appreciation purposes. Do not limit your love and appreciation for a specific day.

As Peter Wanyama, renown Advocate of the High Court and Constitutional Expert puts it; “Love is not comprised of elements to be picked from the shelves and distributed at will to altruistic actors on valentine day. Love throughout the year.”

Perhaps one thing to delve on is, if you wish your loved one to enjoy flowers, why not take them to a place flowers are growing so they can enjoy them in their natural environment or better yet, grow the flowers in your own garden!

The above article appeared on the Star Newspaper on the 13th of February, 2020

The author is an Advocate of the High Court, Principal Partner at Juliet Nyangai & Company Advocates and an apt nature lover. She is a passionate about Conservation.

Ms J.O Nyangái can be reached on: Twitter: @nyangaij Email: nyangaij@gmail.com

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