Valentine’s Day – Why and how it is celebrated in India

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Valentine’s Day is on February 14th, and I think next to the New Year this is the only event everyone around the world celebrates on the same date. It doesn’t matter if you are single, married or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day reminds you of chocolates, hearts and gifts to share with your loved ones.

But has anyone ever thought what is so special and significant about this day? Why is February 14th the quintessential day of romance? Well, though this day is famous for love and romance, it has a murky history.

History

Legend says that a Catholic Church saint by name Valentine was killed while helping Christians escape from Roman prisons. It was while in jail that he had fallen in love with a woman visitor, and had written a letter signed ‘From your Valentine’ for her.

This is one reason why it’s believed couples call each other Valentines on this day. There’s also another story where it’s believed that Valentines’ Day is celebrated on February 14th because it’s St Valentine’s death anniversary.

Whatever the reason may be, it was only later that the day was associated with love. Historians believe it must have started during France’s and England’s Middle Ages where February was the start of birds’ mating season.

Now who thought that the mating of birds would instigate a day of romance for humans?!?!

Valentine’s Day in India

It was much later than the Middle Ages when India started celebrating Valentine’s Day. While many people may have heard about the day in ‘foreign countries’ it was only in the late 90s that Indians started celebrating here.

And today, thanks to the television, internet and movies practically everyone knows, and celebrates Valentine’s Day here. Of course, it’s celebrated mainly in the urban areas, and maybe in a few rural areas thanks to the influence of the Television and internet.

This is the day you get to express your love for someone, usually romantic love through gifts, cards, chocolates, flowers or dates some people even use this day to propose, or get married.

There is however no celebrations in schools, colleges and institutions like other festivals. At the most, some IT companies having US clients, and follow their calendar, may decorate their office interiors in V-day red.

Valentine's Day

Gifts

While talking about V-day gifts, we could only find Archie’s and hallmark cards 20 years back in the market. However things have changed drastically now. Valentine’s Day has become a major event where you can personalize cards and gifts like teddy bears and mugs for your loved ones. There are even chocolates and different colored roses packed in unique V-day boxes.

Moral police

What I want to highlight here is the unfortunate moral policing associated with Valentine’s Day. Indian society hasn’t actually accepted the celebration. Many people, especially the moral police, consider it to be a western and American event, with bad influence on the teenagers and young adults .

These moral polices (not parents but some bodies that consider Valentine’s Day to be a western and bad influence to the society) tend to issue threats against people celebrating Valentine’s Day.

They may even make things embarrassing by beating up couples and gift shops selling V-day cards and gifts. This is even more prevalent in the small towns and cities in India, which is another reason why it’s not so far fledged here.

Special treats

With the young audience the most susceptible to Valentine’s Day celebrations, there are usually special treats lined up for the day. This could be the release of a romantic movie, some shopping discounts, special items in restaurant menus and romantic movies and songs played on TV.

However these treats appeal only to the younger Gen X and Gen Y generations. The older generations don’t actually enjoy or support Valentine’s Day celebrations most probably because it never existed in their hue days.

They were not even permitted to speak to a person of the opposite sex, so it’s not surprising that they do not agree to couples dancing, taking trips alone and celebrating Valentine’s Day.

It is the present day generation that have a huge western influence, and are much bolder and ready to take risks and even experiment with relationships, that enjoy and look forward to Valentine’s Day.

Every day is Valentine’s Day

If you ask me, I feel that a couple doesn’t have to wait till Valentine’s Day to make things special in their life. Everyday can be Valentine’s Day if you really are in love with each other.

Besides, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be celebrated only by unmarried couples. I feel that Valentine’s Day is a must for the married couples out there, who don’t have time to spend for each other in the midst of their everyday routines.

They have to balance their personal and office lives, which is where Valentine’s Day gives them a reason to go out for at least a romantic movie and dinner, and spend some time together.

Of course, there are no fixed rules here. Valentine’s Day is and has always been here, and by the looks of it, will stick around for some time. As long as the day is celebrated to really display your love and feelings to each other, people in love all over the world will appreciate Saint Valentine for giving them this annual special day.

Valentine's Day

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