Proms and Valentine’s Day

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By Carlos Legaspi Jr.

Questions that Matter

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


FEBRUARY has been traditionally designated as a month of love and proms. In this country, business-minded people look forward to the month as a month of many business opportunities. For sure, gimmicks and innovative ads are now populating many ad spots. The Juniors and Seniors of the 10-year program of Basic Education are now having sleepless nights thinking of their first formal dance. Young ladies are now busy fixing their gowns while parents are busy preparing for the “big night” of their sons and daughters.

Let us have a look at the prom first. Prom comes from the term “Promenade” which is defined by the ever-reliable Wikipedia, and internet sites provided me these data regarding prom. “Prom” means a leisurely walk, especially one taken in a public place as a social activity. It is also known as a formal dance; a ball. Or a march of all the guests at the opening of a ball and a square-dance figure in which couples march counter-clockwise in a circle. In a prom, the young lady will get a chance to wear long gowns and formal dresses. This is a time where young lads will also try to win the lasses for a formal dance.

I did not have proms in high school. When I was in my junior year, it was time when a great typhoon hit the country and we were asked to live in solidarity with the typhoon victims, thus I did not have it in my junior year. In my senior year, we were not allowed to hold the prom for it was the “snap election” year of Marcos.

The opportunity of bringing a date in the dance floor for a formal dance slipped my high school life. Although I welcomed it with jubilation for I had never seen the reason for having the event. Anyway, in college I had the opportunity of attending the prom. Two of us were designated to represent the philosophy department. All we did was sit down in one corner and talked to our classmates but did not have a chance to have a formal dance for we are not that good in formal dances. Soon, my wife and I were appointed advisers of the college prom and it was only there that I had really a formal dance with my wife. This was my experience of proms.

The next thing is Valentine’s Day. Saint Valentine's Day, also known as Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them. St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saint named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to February 14, and added to later martyrology.

A popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted during the Roman Empire. According to legend during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.

In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

So, today, when we celebrate Prom and Valentine’s Day, we have to remember the history and the essence of the celebration. These are not excuses for us to practice pre-marital sex or being promiscuous. We have to be prudent and celebrate it in context, lest these events might become dangerous and disastrous.

St. Ezekiel Moreno. Sts. Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod, Mons John Liu and Su, Blessed John Paul II and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 11, 2014.

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