The Star (Nairobi)

14 February 2013

Kenya: Why Older Folks Don't Celebrate Valentine's Day

Although it remains a working day in most countries, Saint Valentine's Day, commonly known as Valentine's Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year.

Kenya is not left out as the day never goes unmentioned despite the harsh economic times. However, despite the fact that you are never too old to be in love, most of the older couples in Kenya do not recognise this day. CATHERINE MUKEI spoke to a few senior spouses who have been married for long.

Mrs Lois Mwangi

I know that Valentine's Day does exist but I have never celebrated it. My husband and I have been married for 45 years but we have never celebrated our love for each other on this day. I don't know the meaning of it anyway. My husband is also less concerned and just like me, he may not have a clue about it because our idea of such a day is renewing our vows in church and attending marriage retreats with other couples. When is it anyway? I will probably be at the shamba or doing some house work depending on that day's schedule. Come to think of it, our children have really tried to tell us about it but I think it is a young generation's thing. In fact in the past few years they have been sending me flowers and texting me on Valentine's Day. The ones who are still single also call me to tell me that I'm their Valentine. Let the young ones enjoy it in the modern way before they get older.

Mr Jepson Muthara

When is it? I know it is this week but I'm not sure when. However my wife and I will still celebrate it. This will be the first time we are doing it in the 40 years of our marriage. Now that you have confirmed the actual date and day, I realise that it actually coincides with my birthday. In the past we have only celebrated my birthday but this year it will be different. We recently attended a couples' seminar and we were reminded to always do something to keep the fire burning. Our children too keep insisting that we should take some time off and observe the day. They even buy gifts for their mother. Love is like fire and no matter how old, couples still need to rekindle the flame. Things are really changing and so should we.

Mrs Esnas Kyungu

We are not very keen on these things as we grow older but now that you have informed me about it, I will actually celebrate it. My husband just came back from upcountry and that calls for a celebration; good timing indeed. This however does not mean that we never do something special in our marriage. It's only that whenever we celebrate, it is on a small-scale level. I'm only hoping that we are going to do it big this time. I'm still planning on what to do for him after many years of marriage. I think that all people in love should observe this day.

Mrs Emma Ngumbi

My husband and I have never celebrated Valentine's Day in our 20 years of marriage. But we celebrate our love every other day. Our children are a reminder of why we fell in love in the first place. We invent our own ways of keeping the flame burning once in a while. My husband takes me out for dinner sometimes and once a year we also attend couple retreats or seminars. Spiritual guidance is the secret to our love. Not that I mind it though. It is not a big deal for me; it's just not my thing. But I would would actually recommend it to my teenage children when they grow older. This year it may also go unnoticed because we have not even talked about it.

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