“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive,” said the Dalai Lama, and when is best time to remember, if not the time of the year when everybody’s talking about love?
It is February, the last month of the winter, in some places there is still snow, it can be a very depressing month, because of this weather, because the days are still short. But February is also a month of hope and joy, and it can be one of the brightest months of the year, because of this human feeling, essential and almost impossible to define in words: Love.
Love has many faces. We feel love in many ways, from love for God to love for any breathing entity, from love for our country and our people to love for our parents and children, from love for our mentors to love for our followers. In the endless search of happiness, human beings have discovered love to be its main and true source. But love isn’t only a source of happiness, it is much more: it is the very basis of life. The mystery of life is the result of the unification in the act of love of the man and the woman in body, mind and soul. The life and continuity of the human beings on Earth is due, essentially, to love. So it’s no wonder the human culture and history are full of wonderful love stories.
Who hasn’t read about the impossible love between a young boy and girl from enemy families? Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and his Juliette has warmed the hearts of millions of people from 16th century until today. Prokofiev’s music from the Romeo and Juliette ballet still makes many people dash away a tear even in the 21st century.
Who can forget the sad love story of Tristan and Isolda ? The music of Wagner brings almost every year to the Bayreuth Festival the alluring story of the knight of Cornwall and his beautiful Irish Princess.
Do you remember the story of Lancelot and the beautiful Guinevere in the mystical kingdom of the king Arthur, the master of the round table ?
Who can’t understand the long, long lonely wait of Penelope for her Ulysses, who returns in spite of the pleasures of Calypso’s bed? Can anybody deny Othello’s love for Desdemona or remain unmoved when he kills out of jealousy ?
Who doesn’t remember how the English 19th century pride and prejudice can be defeated only by love?
Beyond all these well known love stories, more and less true or fictional there were some real famous stories which demonstrate that love isn’t a dream, or literature, or tale …it is a real fact.
Do you remember Napoleon Bonaparte and Walewska Countess, Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson, Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Juan Peron and Eva Duarte?
And these well known love stories are only a small part of the millions of love and life stories which have enriched us and assured the continuity of life on our world.
Probably the huge impact love had and still has, made people dedicate it a special day in the gray and sad winter month. In the Western world, love is celebrated on February 14, Valentine’s day, while in this part of the world – in Romania- we have our own version, the Dragobete, on February 24
Saint Valentine was a martyr who died on February 14, year 269 on Via Flamina in the North of Rome. He became – especially for the western world – the saint of love, and in the Middle Ages was associated with the tradition of courtly love. There are two other similar Saints related with February 14. Other historical sources say the tradition of the Valentine’s Day, as a day of romantic love, was invented in the England of the fourteen century by Geoffrey Chaucer and his friends.
Nowadays, in this very complex and complicated world, it is very reassuring to know that at least during one day the world celebrates love. I hope that maybe all couples will show mutual love, respect and trust in each other. I hope that February 14 is a day when family violence will stop and when love will conquer all, or as our Latin ancestors said: “Amor vincit omnia”
By Mariana Ganea, Guest Writer