Valentine’s Day in Nigeria: Warped Expectations vs What It Should be

by Chioma Akorah

Would it be correct to say that Valentine’s Day is the worst day of the year for singles in Nigeria and maybe worldwide? Of course, this is only a speculation, but this notion may be accurate. Right from the beginning of the year, social media gets bombarded with memes and songs determined to troll singles to death.

Apart from that, a certain pressure mounts as the day approaches, and it gruesomely reminds anyone single of their non-existent love life. For a single person, this may be disheartening. But the irony is that the singles aren’t the only unfortunate victims of Valentine’s Day. Couples also experience their own issues on that special day. 

In this article, we’ll explore the motive behind that special day as well as its existing customs. If you’re single, you may want to stick around. This might just be what you need to make yourself feel better about being alone on the 14th.

However, if you are in a relationship, think of this article as an unbiased mirror. You might finally understand why your last relationship never worked out, and perhaps it will help you save your current relationship as well.

What is Valentine’s Day All About?

Before we get into the main gist of this article, let’s have a little crash course on what the popular ‘Lovers Day’ is all about. Yes, you may think you have your facts down, but it wouldn’t hurt to refresh your memory. 

For the longest time, the 14th of February has been celebrated as a day of love, especially between couples. Lovers take out that day to rekindle their passion or their mutual interests. It’s a day dedicated to appreciating your other half, and who knows, you and that special someone might take the next step in your relationship.

To put it in simple terms, Valentine’s Day is all about love. But would you say this statement is true nowadays? 

Valentine’s Day in Nigeria

  1. Misconstrued agendas

Nowadays, associating Valentine’s Day with the word “love” is almost laughable. ‘Almost’, because a lucky few still understand the reason behind the existence of that day. However, the majority wait on that day with their own misconstrued agendas.

Many people (a large percentage of these ‘people’ being female) believe the only way a man can genuinely declare his interest in them, especially on that day, is through material things. They quantify their value and worth in that relationship by the gifts they receive.

Obviously, on such a special occasion, gift items are exchanged. But the financial pressure some women exert on their partners that day is preposterous. I’m not saying that you deserve any less; all I’m insinuating is that perhaps you should try being more sensible or thoughtful about it. 

Ladies, let’s take this for example: you’re dating a man who probably receives about three hundred and fifty thousand naira a month. But you expect this man to get you a wig of about two hundred and fifty thousand naira. You also expect him to probably take you to dinner, which may range between fifty to sixty thousand naira and more, depending on the restaurant. Won’t this man have other bills to pay? Will all his livelihood go into making you feel ‘materialistically worthy” on Valentine’s Day? Does that seem fair to you? 

To be frank, this materialistic expectation is a warped way of thinking. Unfortunately, this logic can’t be easily eradicated. The current state of our society and our country as a whole has women looking out for comfort. They aim to find succour in their relationships, a man who will undoubtedly ease them from their daily struggles for livelihood.

Therefore, even though they end up settling for a man who probably isn’t what they dreamt of financially, they do their best to achieve their petty satisfactions through one way or another. One of those ways is through their ‘gifts’ on Valentine‘s Day. In summary, we live in a very materialistic world, and unfortunately, that isn’t changing anytime soon. 

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  1. False relationships

You thought materialism was the only problem associated with lover’s day? Think again. According to research, around one in fourteen couples in the US break up on the 14th of February. There are no recorded statistics in Nigeria, but you can only imagine the percentage based on the stories you must have heard. There is always a ‘breakfast’ story; either an unfortunate girl found out her supposed boyfriend is married or cheating or vice versa. The stories are endless, and you’ll be surprised it’s why many people prefer to stay single.

Admittedly, countless ‘horror stories’ surround this festive day, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s experience is terrible. Many couples are still out there whose love stories may make you swoon with envy. 

Not to sound whimsical, but the key to having a successful relationship, one with undoubted peace of mind, is the right partner. Hopefully, a lucky man or woman, whoever it is, reading this article gets to have their happily ever after with their right partner this Valentine’s Day. 

Conclusion

Valentine’s Day lost its meaning a long time ago. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it. The change we seek starts from our mindset; all it takes is a shift in the right direction. We must realize what it is we are to celebrate on that day.

It isn’t a day to keep scores with your girlfriends on who got the most expensive gifts. It’s a day to be purely loved and to love. You could say it’s a day to give thanks. At the end of the day, not everyone is lucky enough to have a partner to share that day with. 

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What are your opinions about Valentine’s day celebrations in Nigeria? Let us know in the comments section. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive notifications of our latest posts in your inbox.

Edited by Oluwanifemi Akintomide. 

About Author

Chioma Akorah
Chioma Akorah
Akorah Chioma Diana is a recent graduate from the University of Lagos. A creative and content writer, her love for writing began in her Junior Secondary School when she became interested in reading.

​A 2021/2022 KANAC Creative writing winner, excerpts of her work can be found in the KANAC Anthology, Pride Magazine Nigeria, and Tush Media Magazine.

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