The Existence of Valentine and the Demoralisation of the Nation’s Young Generation
By, Dr. Ahmad Salim. MPd
S1 Alma Ata Islamic Religious Education – Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that this February is the month of love, because in this month there is valentine. A moment that they think is right to celebrate with their partner. Although the covid-19 pandemic has not signalled a decline, it is estimated that there are still many people who will take advantage of Valentine’s Day this year to express their affection to their loved ones. They express their love in different ways depending on their appreciation and money. Starting from sending valentine cards decorated with love and cupid god images, sending chocolates or flowers, visiting tourist attractions offering valentine celebrations organised by business users both domestically and abroad.
If we look at the reality that exists from the past until now, the connoisseurs and people who celebrate Valentine’s Day are the young generation. They use this moment to show their love to their lover or even use Valentine’s Day to “confess” their potential lover. Most of the younger generation or even parents who celebrate or utilise Valentine’s Day just follow these customs without knowing clearly the origin or purpose of the Valentine’s Day celebration.
Historically, there are actually many versions regarding the origin of Valentine’s Day as The World Book Encyclopedia (1998) describes these versions. One of them is that the Lupercalia celebration was a series of purification ceremonies in ancient Roman times (13-18 February). The first two days were dedicated to the goddess of love (queen of feverish love) Juno Februata. On these days, young men drew the names of girls in a box. Then each young man picks a name at random and the girl whose name comes out has to be his partner for a year for fun and entertainment. On 15 February, they ask the god Lupercalia for protection from the disturbances of wolves. During this ceremony, young men whip people with animal skins and women scramble to be whipped thinking it will make them more fertile. When Catholic Christianity entered Rome, they adopted this ceremony and coloured it with Christian overtones, among other things replacing the names of the girls with the names of Popes or Priests. Among its supporters were Emperor Constantine and Pope Gregory I (The Encyclopedia Britannica, subheading: Christianity). In order to bring it closer to Christianity, in 496 AD Pope Gelasius I made this Ancient Roman ceremony into a Church Feast Day under the name Saint Valentine’s Day in honour of St Valentine who happened to die on 14 February (The World Book Encyclopedia 1998).
If we look at it from a historical perspective, there is actually no specific link between what is done by the current young generation in celebrating and utilising Valentine’s Day with the history or origin of Valentine’s Day. It is even suspected that the valentine celebration is now thick with the aroma of capital/business rather than a form of celebration of love. This means that business users have deliberately designed the day to be a day of world love in order to reap the maximum profit from the celebration, starting from the sale of chocolates, valentine cards, to the provision of entertainment venues to celebrate the valentine. It seems that businessmen have succeeded in making young people around the world as objects of profit from what they have been trying to do so far. As evidenced by the many places of entertainment or games offering forms of affection are flooded with young people, especially on Valentine’s Day.
In the context of Indonesia, as a nation with strong eastern customs, we should all be aware of all cultures or activities from abroad that have unclear origins or goals. Valentine has clearly been used by businessmen to reap profits and want to make our nation the object of their business. The form of business carried out has contributed a lot of demoralisation to our nation’s generation. We can see that in every Valentine’s celebration, businessmen have succeeded in luring the younger generation to participate in all the events or activities that are made which sometimes have far violated religious norms such as dance parties by changing partners and others.
Our nation’s responsibility towards the younger generation seems to be facing increasingly severe challenges, especially in the era where information that is increasingly fast and clear today. Parents and teachers are becoming increasingly helpless to deal with this onslaught, as a result parents and teachers at school tend to be permissive of all activities carried out by their children or students. The principles held by parents or teachers have been defeated by the beauty and enjoyment offered by business people through cyberspace in their hands that almost every child can access, including this Valentine’s Day celebration.
Even so, we as a nation must not give up. There are many things that can be done to protect our generation from the onslaught of information flows mentioned above, including: instilling moral education in the family, instilling ethical education in schools and packaging Valentine’s Day celebrations to be more moral and civilised. Education, including the cultivation of morals, is most effective in the family, especially from an early age.
The family is the smallest system in which everything can be taught and instilled. Therefore, parents must be responsive and understand all developments that exist outside that might affect the morals of their children, including this Valentine’s Day celebration. Perhaps once in a while we as parents should force our children to do commendable activities, it is better to force them then it becomes a good habit than to let them become uncontrollable children.
Then the cultivation of ethics in schools needs to be improved. Although ethics is not one of the stand-alone lessons, every teacher must integrate this ethics in every lesson he holds. Every teacher should be able to instil good ethics with explanations and concrete examples that can be emulated and implemented by their students, including explaining about Valentine’s Day, which has no clear origin and purpose.
Finally, the packaging of Valentine’s Day into a more civilised celebration, more concerned with morality and appreciation of true love for one’s beloved. Perhaps we can expand the expression of love not only to lovers in the sense of our partners, we can expand lovers in the sense of the Almighty so that the form of expression can be in the form of recitation of prayers, forgiveness of repentance, or a form of gratitude for what has been obtained so far. We can design the delivery of chocolates or flowers and cards into sending messages via social media that invite our partners to put forward our love for our God. We can do the above efforts and succeed if we get the support of all stakeholders including the state. If it can be done, perhaps we can save the demoralisation of the nation’s generation in this permissive era, hopefully!!!!