My most memorable Valentine’s Day

What you need to know:

With the day for roses, chocolate and kisses almost here, so many are already executing well-thought-out plans to pamper the ones they love. We asked a few of our readers to take a romantic stroll down memory lane and share with us their most memorable Valentine’s Day moments.

Valentine’s Day is a popular day. Shops put out romantic cards and chocolates or candies on display months in advance, while restaurants and hotels advertise romantic packages for couples looking for a special way to spend the day. And in case you were wondering, you do not need to be in a relationship to celebrate this day. There are plenty of options for friends and family members looking to display their affection and create memories in the process.

Our readers share some of their best Valentine’s Day memories:

Denica Aine, florist

Growing up, Aine never celebrated Valentine’s Day. The day always ended without any gifts for her and she was always left admiring those that had been gifted by their loved ones. Even when she got married, although some were celebrated, others were forgotten due to the couple’s busy schedule. Of those they celebrated, two still hold a lot of memories for her.

“One was when I had just given birth to our first born. Then, we lived in Nateete, a Kampala suburb, and on this day, my husband took me to the road side market where vendors were selling Valentine’s Day goods. He bought me a black skirt, red blouse and a plastic red rose. He also bought himself a red t-shirt and a black pair of trousers. After adorning these, we proceeded to a nearby restaurant where we had an amazing meal,” she says.

Aine was elated because this was the first of such celebrations in her life. Unfortunately, from then on, the day was always forgotten due to events such as child birth, work and establishing her floral business. However, that drought period was soon broken when at the start of February 2019, her husband told her to get ready for an outing on Valentine’s Day.

“While we did not wear red, I was in for such a beautiful surprise. One of the gifts were fresh flowers and it was wonderful since even at my traditional marriage ceremony, the florist had used artificial flowers to decorate, which I hated. It was good to get fresh flowers from the one I love. He also wrote a touching love note, which melted my heart. This was accompanied by a dinner at one of the affluent hotels in Kololo, Kampala,” she says.

Aine is eagerly waiting for what will happen this year because often times, the days leading to Valentine’s Day, when not taken up by work, are used to reminisce about the past celebrations with gratitude.

Ernest Barusya Magezi, managing partner, Kenbright Actuarial and Financial Services

As an actuary, the first quarter of the year, within which Valentine’s Day falls, is the busiest time for Barusya, preparing reports for his clients. However, he is quick to say it does not mean they are not social people but rather, have commitments they have to fulfil.

“With sleepless nights and less time at home, one in this field needs an understanding spouse. In my case, I ensure that I compensate for being almost unavailable that day by getting her a gift and some flowers. To also make up for the time I am busy, I have made it a point to make each day Valentine’s Day. We do not wait for February 14 to buy each other gifts or spend some time away together. We also have monthly dates to ensure that this does not create a hole in our love life,” he says.

Christine Katende

Christine Katende cannot help but blush when her husband’s name is mentioned and while she enjoys showering him with gifts every day, Valentine’s Day is one she celebrates earnestly.

Her memorable days go back to when they were dating, the first being in 2010 where she spent the week leading to the day looking for a suitable gift.

“A friend who owned a gift shop in Bunga, Kampala, helped me get a unique note book and a love letter. Though a workday, we had agreed to meet at a certain hotel in Kasanga at 7pm where he presented me with a flower and the promise of something better at his home. The day was memorable because he put the evening aside for us; there were no interrupting calls as was the norm. We left the hotel at midnight and he made sure I got back home safely. After this, I knew that he cared for me deeply,” she reminisces. 

Katende indeed got the promised gift; a portrait of Jesus Christ which still hangs in their house.

The next year was no different and Katende had prepared to meet her boyfriend, now husband. Because she had a work trip the day before, she packed the outfit she would wear on her date.

“We met at a hotel close to Munyonyo, Kampala, and had a sumptuous meal,” she says. With plans to spend the night at his place, the couple enjoyed an evening stroll at their leisure; an amazing way to prolong the day’s date. They crowned the day with a bottle of wine, which was Christine’s gift to him.

Hatma Nalugwa Ssekaaya, media personality

Her simplicity is accompanied by a finesse that cannot be mistaken. Nonetheless, this public figure speaks so dearly of her spouse.

“I always knew that my Hajj is not good with surprises, especially when it comes to expressing his love for me,” she says.

However, something spectacular was about to happen on February 13, 2022, a day to Valentine’s Day.

“Two days after the birth of our third born, Haulah Nalukenge Ssekaaya (RIP), my dearest Hajj Abdulhakim Ssekaaya gave me my first car. My gift was driven to International Hospital Kampala, where I was admitted at the time. In his own words, while handing me a small wrapped gift box, Hajj said, ‘‘My love, thank you for choosing me. Thank you for accepting to be the mother of our children. Please accept this small token of appreciation from the bottom of my heart.”

“I could not hide my emotions as I opened my gift. I left the hospital with two gifts; a brand new car and my baby girl. To date, this stands out as one of my favourite Valentine’s Day gifts,” she adds.