The most romantic day of the year famously known as Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the feast of Saint Valentine. On February 14th Valentine’s Day is celebrated in honor of a Christian Saint named Valentinus. The celebration of Valentine’s day originated from several macrologies, the most famous of them is where Saint Valentinus of Rome served jail time and been executed on account of him performing marriages to soldiers who were forbidden to do so, but that is not the core of the story, during his imprisonment he is said to heal the jailer’s daughter and to leave her a farewell letter signing “Your Valentine”. This is the romantic saga of the Valentine’s Day. Though Valentine’s Day has a sad romantic roots, it is celebrated nothing as of a mourning celebration. It is a celebration of love and there can never be anything ugly in love.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE CELEBRATION
During high middle ages Valentine’s Day is considered to be a day of a romantic setting for courtly love. While in 18th century England the day progresses to a point which the lovers are to express their love with flowers, confectioneries and greeting card, which were famously known as “valentines”. Europe has taken it up a notch presenting their beloved ones with keys of Saint Valentine, which is a romantic gesture of the key to one’s heart and is for the receiver of the key that it is unlocked. These keys were also given to children to ward of epilepsy, which was famously called St. Valentine’s Malady during the time. Hearts, doves and cupids symbolizes the modern day Valentine, greeting cards are a famous form of Valentine present since 19th century, which were started as hand written notes.
HOW IS VALENTINE’S DAY VIEWED IN INDIA?
India had mythological roots in celebrating love, as adoring the god of love, Kamadeva was much in practice during a period of time, but in middle ages it was declined to a never existed tradition. Public display of love and sexual affection, what once was a common occurrence of were gradually come to be frowned upon and became increasing shunned until the late 1990’s.
The state of West Bengal has their own version of Valentine’s Day, the Saraswati Pooja, it is revered as their version of Valentine by the urban middle-class youth, the goddess Saraswati is worshipped during this celebration.
The actual Valentine’s Day did become admired or acknowledged until around the early 1990’s. Commercial media plays a vital part in popularizing Valentine’s Day, a notable participant is MTV. They broadcast various dedicated programs and conducted love related competitions to make Valentine’s Day well liked and fashionable. One could even say the informational technological advancements had led us be aware of this phenomenal celebration, which was beyond the bounds of possibility decades ago.
Despite its notorious raise to fame, Valentine’s Day is not well received by everyone one in India. Several religion based traditionalist considered the festive vibes of Valentine’s Day as cultural hemorrhage and as a degradation of moral values. Political setting has surrounded the occasion, often causing protests and sometimes drastic actions were used to shun public display of affection. Shiva Sena and Sangh Parivar are the political elites that are strong in the opposition for the Valentine’s Day.
There is a post-colonial perspective of criticism of the enthusiasm showed towards a western holiday. Valentine’s Day is often called as neocolonialism.
However, with all the opposition from the political elites, Valentine’s Day still grows in numbers of in being favored to it. The ratio of haters is deftly decreasing with the coming generations.
HOW IS VALENTINE’S DAY CELEBRATED IN INDIA?
Indian youth having been brought up by repressed tradition, takes this day of love with unbridled enthusiasm. Valentine’s Day is most expected day for the Indian youth, it is getting popular in school culture too. Having a tight knit iron clad views on public display of affection, Valentine’s Day is yet celebrated secluded from family often. Yet, friends take an integral part in making this special day truly special. Decades ago even courtly love was unheard of in India, evolving from such a background, Valentine’s Day provides a setting for the shy and timid youngsters to express their feeling to their special ones. The day of celebration of love adds a tinge of romantic aroma in the atmosphere making the young lovers relaxed and comfortable for them to express themselves and be true to their feelings.
Media plays and integral part adding the bang to the bash, commercial media goes fanatical in Valentine’s Day with their dedicated shows and special programs. Often romantic themed movies are released on Valentine’s Day, adding celebrities into Valentine’s celebration mix. Radio’s often lets the callers dedicate love messages to their beloved, secret admirers often use this to express their inner feeling towards their loved ones.
Parks and beaches are packed on Valentine’s Day as its lush green and infinite sands give a sophisticated view while comfortably tucked into the warmth of their valentine.
Should we enjoy so much a foreign festival? Should we really embrace westernism? Is Valentine is culturally demeaning?
I ask you all one thing, should we classify love? It is what I got when I was born from my mother, my father gave it to me while he guided me growing into a fine young man, what my sisters gave me when I was admonished, admired and understood. Love is what I expect in my better half as the first and only requirement. It is what god and religion state, love yourself, love your people and love your world. If there is a day to celebrate this soul searching feeling that is worth fighting a war, I wish to be a part of it.
I humbly sign off quoting the most romantic of all time, Sir Shakespeare. “Come what sorrow can, It cannot countervail the exchange of joy, that one short minute gives me in her sight”