The Red Pandemic

The season of love as its fondly called by many is finally here .  Valentine’s day also known as lover’s day is just few days away. This is a day when lovers, friends or family show their affection for one another with gifts and kind messages.

As a popular event all over the world, the month of February rolls in with flashes of the colour red . It floods everywhere, from our television screens, to shops, restaurants, social media ,work places and even our schools are not spared.

Over the years, the widespread use of the colour red has become synonymous with valentines day, but why red? What is really the significance of colour red to Valentine’s day? Red flowers, Red dresses, red love notes, chocolates wrapped in red and even red teddy bears. Almost like an outbreak of a red  pandemic that everyone catches.

The red theme for Valentine’s day has a lot to do with history and traditional beliefs from long ago. In the world of today, the colour red represents passion, love, romance, anger and  danger. Apart from the romantic attributes of colour red, it is also used as warning signs to show danger, for instance on traffic signs or fire fighting equipment.

     

When we picture Valentine’s day, the first colour that comes to our mind is  red . Now let’s picture where that ideology came from. There are many concepts as to why colour red symbolizes love and passion and few of them include:

The Ancient Greek and Roman  myth

The goddess of love Aphrodite falling in love with a mortal man named Adonis. Eventually as Adonis was about to die, the goddess of love Aphrodite rushed towards him while accidentally stepping on the thorns of a white rose. Hence blood staining the white rose to turn completely red, making it unique and the first red rose to exist. In this concept red blood and red rose is symbolizing love.

Valentine’s day also dates back to the time of the ancient Romans, when there was a particular festival to celebrate family fertility called  the Lupercalia festival. During this festival, blood from sacrificed animals were touched on the women to increase their fertility. This ritual was part of the roman tradition and was celebrated on every February 15th but was moved to February 14th in the 5th century by pope Gelasius I and renamed St. Valentine’s day. Scholars believe this explains the red colour of blood used during the sacrifice contributed to the popular connection of Valentine’s day and the colour red.

The Roman Priest

St Valentine was a Roman priest who believed in love and secretly wedded young Christian couples in the church. This was against the will of Emperor Claudias who felt unmarried soldiers fought better on the battlefield . He banned marriage among young people. Saint Valentine was executed on 14th February for refusing to denounce Christ and his christian faith. Thus the day is beloved to be celebrated to honor his memory.

The Human Anatomy 

The red colour in connection to Valentine’s day is simply related to love and the colour of blood and the human heart. This is why some Countries around the world including India and China encourage their brides to wear the colour red on their wedding day. Red remains a colour that stirs up excitement and communicates a feeling of desire. The colour red represents the blood and beating heart in our bodies, symbolizing pure affection and true love.

Valentine on a Budget

The time of the month is approaching: the one lovebirds have marked and started anticipating since Mid-January.

The time of the month puts us in our best behaviors so the surprise that comes on that day is not a lack of surprise. The time of the month that isn’t a holiday, but might as well be with the fervor of energy it brings. Of course, we are talking about Valentine’s Day – the season of love.

Every year, it seems like a war is waged where packages, getaways, dinners, and gift items for Valentine’s compete to see which will be the most highly-priced. Recently, it feels like the day has become a project one has to save up for months to achieve.

But, no more! Love is meant to be expressed, and there are many budget-friendly ways to echo the words your heart feels to your loved ones, be it a significant other, close friend, or family member. 

 

Breakfast in Bed

You don’t have to be a participant in Top Chef to pull this off. Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to make. You just have to get creative with it and make splashes of red in all you do.

Heart-shaped pancakes, strawberry dips, red wine, store-bought muffins, and a love note is a step in the right direction. 

To make it more heartfelt, it would not be a bad idea to time it with your loved one’s wake-up routine. You can sneak back to bed, and watch their reaction when they see the spread waiting for them.

 

Picnic on the Beach

Recommendation: For a more romantic setup, the most preferred time is late in the evening when the glow of the tealights or candles is able to cast that haze of softness over everything.

Grab a blanket, with a spread full of your favourite dishes, and feel the salt air weave over your skin while you clink wine glasses.

The beach is the perfect location but you could use your backyard, or somewhere you have favourite memories in.

 

Dinner Date

This has to make the list. Although some dinner dates can be expensive, there are some affordable restaurants if you do the research and make reservations beforehand. 

It doesn’t have to be a Valentine-themed dinner reservation. It is, however, the perfect excuse to dress up. Wherever you choose, you get to nurture the first date feelings while you pick outfits specially for your loved one.

You can also recreate the experience at home. But make sure to dress up for it, and keep dinner lights dim to make a romantic atmosphere. 

 

Shows and Concerts

Some artists have shows, album listens, and mini-concerts curated for Valentine’s Day. It is even better when it is an artist you both love, or has a number of love songs you can hum together while you revel in the moment.

In Nigeria, John Drille, who is famed for love songs, has an album listening for Valentine’s. 

 

Personalized Gifts

You don’t have to break the bank to get gifts for your loved ones. It is the thought that counts. 

Pay more attention, and pick up hints for what he/she really loves or has wanted to get for a while; have it engraved with their initials, or simply put a smile on their face by handing it to them. Personalized gifts make for a more appreciated gift item.

 

Group Activities 

The more, the merrier…and cheaper. Many restaurants or spots offer discounts for groups. You could plan a group wine tasting, paint and sip, picnic, karaoke, and many more. The list of activities to choose from is endless.

To make it fun, everyone can invite their significant other or close friend. This keeps the number even and vibes positive. With this, it doesn’t matter where you go, you are sure to have a fun experience at a discounted rate.

It is the feeling you need to express. We show love every day, and in many ways, but take this time out this year. Tuck your kids in bed early, pamper yourself at the spa, bake something to be shared. Enjoy the season of love.

 

If you watched wrestling in the 90’s

Growing up in the 90’s, the means of entertainment were very limited. Then the watching of VHS wrestling tapes presented itself. We took it , but I was not prepared for the terror felt at the mere sight of the Undertaker ! He dared to come to the boxing ring with a coffin and woe be the Man that ends up in it after a match. The ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan were the positive vibes guy and their entrance got me out of my seat jumping like a kid in a candy store.

Here is a list of some well known names from back then, most of them have long left the ring , some long dead. However you can still read a bit about them and see what they look like  years after the  game.

The Undertaker

Mark William Calaway made waves in the wrestling world under the name the Undertaker. He continues to compete in matches every now and then as a free agent. In the past, he won 17 titles and had been one of the most feared people in the industry. Wrestling aside, he has also gone into real estate! At the moment, he and his wife get to work with animals through the fund that they set up for this passion.

Kane

You might not recognize the name Glenn Thomas Jacobs, but you probably know Kane. Well, he is one of the most popular wrestlers in history. Did you know that he has also been an actor, politician, and businessman? He starred in See No Evil, which is a great place to watch him as an actor. In 2018, he also entered politics and won the mayoral seat of Knox County in the same year.

The Rock

See his beautiful smile, and dude has still not lost it, especially when he acts in a comedy. We are sure that you are familiar with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. You do not even have to be a fan of wrestling to know who he is! His acting career has even eclipsed his time in the ring. Times magazine once called him one of the most influential people in the world. Aside from being talented and good-looking, he is also charitable. He even started a foundation that helps children with terminal illnesses.

Hulk Hogan


You might also know Hulk Hogan even if you are not the biggest wrestling fan. Born Terre Gene Bollea, he has left a legacy on the industry. Outside of it, he has also worked as a TV personality, entrepreneur, musician, and actor. It is impressive to see how much he has achieved! Did you know that he has his own nutritional website and energy drink? In 2007, he hit a rough patch while going through a pasdivorce and losing nearly everything he owns. We are glad that he has managed to bounce back from then.

The Ultimate Warrior

James Brian Hellwig, who went by the name the Ultimate Warrior or Dingo Warrior, was adored by his fans. He loved wrestling so much that he legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993! There was a time when people claimed that he has passed away and was being impersonated by a different fighter. However, the truth was that he passed away from a heart attack at the age of 54 in 2014.

Macho Man

We do not think that it is possible to be unfamiliar with Macho Man Randy Savage! He enjoyed a career that went on for more than 32 years. He has also claimed 29 world titles. In the past, he has appeared in Baywatch, Spider-Man, and Ready to Rumble. In 2011, he died while on the road. People eventually found out that he had a heart condition, which led to his death

Chyna

Back in the ‘90s, Joan Marie Laurer made it big under the ring name Chyna. She was the first popular female wrestler! She deserves credit for paving the way for other women in the industry. The talented wrestler deserved the accolades and awards that she has received in the past. Apart from wrestling, she also started writing and released an autobiography. In 2016, however, she died after a drug overdose. RIP.

The Coach

Jonathan Coachman, also known as the Coach, no longer appears inside the ring, but he is still active in the industry.  Once a fine Man, now a finer man , black don’t crack. This time, he serves as the color commentator of the Raw brand. In 2018, he resigned from WWE and has made fans wonder whether he will return. He is now happily married and has two kids.

Yokozuna

Next, we have the first Samoan wrestler! Rodney Agatupa Anoa’i is better known as Yokozuna among wrestling fans. Did you know that he was the only one of Samoan descent to win the WWF World Heavyweight Championship? In 2000, his dead body was discovered in his hotel room after a tour at the age of 34. His cause of death was thought to be a heart attack, but it was pulmonary edema.

Jacqueline

Jacqueline DeLois Moore a wrestler, but she is a wrestling manager as well.  She is not only beautiful but among the only  three women to bag the Cruiserweight Championship, and she is one of them. Over the years, she has worked in movies, video games, and TV shows. She was a trainer in an MTV series called Tough Times. We are blown away when we realized that she is now in her 60s and still looks like that.

Shawn Michaels

Born Michael Shawn Hickenbottom, Shawn Michaels is a champion wrestler who is a familiar face on TV. Aside from acting, he also worked as a TV presenter! He is the main ambassador of WWE and the host of Shawn Michaels’ River Adventures. Over the years, he has been married twice! The most recent one would be his marriage to Rebecca. The two of them tied the knot in 1999 and have two kids.

Travel and Passports

Passports are issued by a country’s government and it confirms a person’s identity and nationality for worldwide travel.  Passports basically contain information like the bearer’s place of birth, name, date of birth, photograph, signature etc.  When planning to travel out of the boarders of your home country to any other country, the first thing you would need to process is your international passport and have it ready before any other thing. You don’t need a passport for local flights or trips within your country of origin.

   

In Nigeria, passports are usually issued by the Nigerian immigration service. They are not processed immediately and may take a duration of weeks to be ready. The standard Nigerian passport consists of two categories, a 32 page passport with a 5 year validity and a 64 page passport with a 10 year validity. The 32 page passport has 33 usable pages for visas, stamps or stickers. Frequent travelers go for the 64 page passport, as it has more usable pages.

There are also different types of passports based on purpose of travel and they include

Emergency passports: These types of passports are issued temporarily in urgent situations like when you loose your passport or have it stolen and do not have time available to apply for a new one, upon contacting your embassy, you would be issued this passport. This passport is just for the moment to get you to your destination on emergency grounds, hence you will have to process a new and valid passport on arrival to your destination.

E-passport : These are also known as electronic passports which are also available in Nigeria. This type of passport booklet has a electronic chip in it which helps prevent passport fraud.  This electronic chip on the front of the passport booklet holds the same information that is in the passport data page and also has a bio-metric identifier. It makes it way too difficult to impersonate another person.

Official passport: This type of passport is meant for government employees, entering another country for official purposes. The official passport doesn’t come with any special privileges.

Diplomatic passport: This is a special type of passport meant for diplomats sent to foreign missions, representing their home country for official purposes. This passport comes with special privileges and immunities, like exemption from taxes or prosecution.

While travelling out of the country you need to actually present your passport several times at the airport and even at border checks while travelling by road. A passport should have at least 6 months validity before using it to travel. The Nigerian passport is ranked 82nd in the world by the 2022 passport index, with access to 48 nations without visa.

It is important to be a law abiding citizen especially while leaving your country and representing where you are from in a foreign land.  The Nigerian presidential committee recently deactivated 200 Nigerian passports as they were Covid-19 test defaulters. They were found to posses fake vaccination cards and fake PCR tests.  The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi  stated “It has come to the notice of the State Government that certain returning passengers present themselves at the airport either with fake COVID-9 PCR tests or fake vaccination cards or registering as children under 10 years to bypass the National guidelines or providing false COVID related information.”

“These acts will not be tolerated as they represent the main catalyst of all the four waves which have had a major impact on the State public health systems and the economy.”

“We have submitted the first 200 names of individuals who have failed to present themselves at the mobile courts to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and their passports have been deactivated for a period of one year”.

Passport Hack: Always have a soft copy of your Passport backed up in the cloud in case of loss of belongings  or theft, to enable easy access at borders.

 

The power of your International Passport

There remains a glaring gap in freedom for global travel by citizens of different nations across the world. While some nationals enjoy a wide variety of countries they can visit with just their internationak passports and no visa hassle, other nationalities have limited access to gain entrance into some Countries with just their passports. The sad truth is even with international passports travel is still limited for some nationalities around the world. Different passports have different strengths, which implies some passports are more powerful than others.

 

The world’s leading and most powerful passports in terms of travel freedom without visa applications are Japan and Singapore. The Henley passport index reports that Japan and Singapore ranks top before other countries in the world, making citizens of these nations have access to a whooping 192 countries without a visa!

Yes, you heard that right. Japanese and Singaporean passport holders  are able to enter 192 countries without a visa. According to Henley passport index 2021, which uses data from the international Air transport association (IATA), these two countries also tied first place in passport rankings last year.

Some passports actually allow their bearers more freedom of movement than others. Germany and South Korea are next in line with citizens having access to 190 countries without a visa, while the famous nations, the United Kingdom and United States of America come in 6th position with visa free movement to 186 nations around the world. Belgium, Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand also tie in for 6th position.

 

(Photo via kieferpix / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

 

On the other hand, Afghanistan ranks as one of the weakest passports globally with access of visa free travel to only 26 countries in the world. Iraqi passports allowing visa free entry into 28 countries for it’s citizens follows up close. Next in line is Syria, Pakistan and Yemen, with 29, 31 and 33 countries allowing them visa free entry respectively.  Mozambique with it’s citizens having visa free travel to 62 countries in the world. Nigerian passport having 50 visa free destinations for it’s citizens and ranks 82nd position globally for passport rankings in year 2022.

Why are some International Passports strong and some weak?

The strength of a passport may depend on several reasons and they may include how stable the country is in regards to economy, terror attacks and politics.  Also mutual understanding, reciprocity and diplomatic relations between countries play a major role and affect the strength of a passport. Nations with high populations or population issues like migration have a weaker passport.

“The borders within which we happen to be born, and the documents we are entitled to hold, are no less arbitrary than our skin color. Wealthier states need to encourage positive inward migration in an effort to help redistribute and rebalance human and material resources worldwide, including improving the size and quality of their own workforces,” stated Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners.