Various events mark Val's Day
A few years ago, the celebration of Valentine's Day on February 14 was associated with the display of vanity and immorality. The proliferation of media landscape also came along with Valentine promotions that led to great awareness and participation in the celebration by Ghanaians, but gave rise to the flagrant display of sexual promiscuity by the youth on that day.
The moral psyche of the nation was deeply affected and the Ghana Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism in 2007 re-branded Valentine's Day, as National Chocolate Day to reduce the social vices associated with it while promoting the consumption of chocolate, especially Ghana's cocoa.
The move was to encourage Ghanaians, especially the youth, to replace the consumption of alcohol on Valentine's Day with the intake of chocolate and other cocoa products as a result of the health benefits of cocoa.
The perception this year was that Valentine's Day celebrations got to a late start, but the day was marked with various activities.
An Accra-based radio station, Happy FM, crowned the Valentine's Day celebrations with another mass wedding in Accra and some churches organised programmes for their members to mark the occasion, devoid of the wanton promiscuity that has come to be associated with it. Singles retreat
For instance, the counselling committee of the Anointed One Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana at Sakumono, chaired by Mrs Faustina Adu Tetteh, held a retreat on the theme: “single but not desperate, why I need a partner”, for singles in the church to counsel them on how to prepare for future relationships leading to marriage.
Valentine's Day is supposed to be a period when gifts are exchanged between loved ones, and a time for showing love to the needy.
Some groups organised blood donation campaigns and made presentations to hospitals and needy persons.
A group known as Prayerchain Ghana Ministries, in collaboration with the Hallowed Charter International, visited the inmates of the Nsawam Female Prison to show them love particularly during the Valentine season. The inmates called on their families to pay them regular visits to help them feel a sense of belonging.
Food items and toiletries were also presented to help cater for the upkeep of the inmates.
Some of the items were bags of rice, gallons of cooking oils, assorted drinks, tubers of yam, bags of garden eggs, washing soaps and toilet rolls.
The inmates were also given gifts and feted by the ministry. Purpose of the visit
According to the founder of Prayerchain Ministries, Ms Catherine Forson, the gesture was to show love to the inmates.
She said some of them had never known love in their lives and that had brought them to the prison.
“If they had love of a mother, love of a friend and a husband's love, they wouldn't have probably been where they are,” she said. Words of encouragement
Speakers took turns to share the word of God and words of encouragement with them to give them hope that all was well with Jesus no matter where they found themselves.
Among the speakers was Mr Fiifi Banson of Peace FM.
He urged them to believe in the love of God and explained that God's love was sufficient for all, which was why he sent his Son to die for the sins of mankind.
The founder of Hallowed Charter International, Mr David Asante, also advised them to stay united and avoid mental imprisonment.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the second-in-command of the prison, Superintendent Yayra Ashong-Mettle, said it was very important for families to visit to give the inmates hope and also encourage them that life was worth living no matter where they might find themselves.
According to her, being in prison did not make one different from other human beings and added that “anybody could be here”.
Superintendent Ashong-Mettle thanked the Prayerchain Ministries and its partners for the support and called on corporate bodies to come to the aid of the prison to supplement government's effort.