Love and sacrifice - Balancing Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday
It was a day that brought together two significant events that are recognised and celebrated by many Jamaicans: Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day.
Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of the holy season of Lent, during which Christians solemnly reflect on the suffering of Jesus Christ, who gave His life for them - what many consider the ultimate sacrificial love - while Valentine's Day is set aside as a special day for the giving and receiving of love.
Sacrifice and love. Holy and pleasurable. How did some Jamaicans balance the two?
The Gleaner took to the streets of Kingston and St Andrew yesterday to find out.
Deslande McKenzie, who was at a worship service at the St Andrew Parish Church, pointed out, very strongly, that God will always take precedence no matter what is being celebrated.
"It (the combined days) has not distorted anything. Utmost for me is being a Christian, so seeing that it is Ash Wednesday, the first thought is to be at church. Being a disciple of Christ, you really want to commit that time, then after, I will certainly spend some time with my wife. My relationship with God is paramount for me," he said.
"I must point out, though, that my relationship with my wife is key, and I believe in celebrating Valentine's Day, but God comes first."
BREAK FROM WORK
For Marlon Campbell, it was just another day to celebrate with his wife and enjoy the break from work.
"It's Ash Wednesday, and there are two big football games today. I don't have work, so I can watch the games. My wife got up this morning and said, 'I'm going to be cleaning. Leave the house'," he said, laughing.
"Seriously, though, I think for some persons, it's good to put in the extra on Valentine's Day, but for me, you should celebrate your partner every day. We'll celebrate later, but for now, I am focusing on the football. I told her whatever she wants to do, I'm down for it, and we are actually not big on holidays."
The attitude was similar for Mike Anderson, who said that the effort he made to buy a gift was purely to please his spouse.
"I couldn't care less about Valentine's Day, but the ladies want to feel special, so I go along with it. As for Ash Wednesday, without God, you are nothing, so every day I wake up, I give thanks. I don't need a day. It's unfortunate, though, that people hardly recognise God during a time that is supposed to be centered on God. It's more about partying," said Anderson.
"If I am to be truthful, I don't celebrate Ash Wednesday either, but a big part of it is because I don't really understand the significance of this whole Lent thing, so I just do my part every day."