Come rain come shine, it is always fine, when a year passes by, to bring back this day of sweet Valentine.
Yes it will shortly be time for the festival of youth, most awaited, most celebrated, most enjoyed by those young and young at heart. February 14th, the day when romance fills the air, the day when every moment is cherished, the day when everything else takes a backseat but the feeling of togetherness, sharing, and most importantly Love!
An innocent act, a lifelong tradition
What was a simple farewell gesture of a prisoner to a person he adored silently, got colored with the hue of romance and pleasant exchanges and developed into a ritual that is celebrated with as much enthusiasm and fervor that is associated with a popular traditional festival – and all over the world. The ways maybe different with the tinge of local flavor but the universal language or the emotion of love is more or less expressed in gesture and kind by all ages, in countries across the world.
Why Valentine’s Day is celebrated
Of the several stories that are widely circulated, the one that finds most acceptance and has become popular is that of Saint Valentine of Rome who used to perform weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and also conducting for Christians who were persecuted by the Roman emperors. Legend has it that he healed the daughter of his jailor, Asterius, when he was imprisoned and before he was executed wrote to her and signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell.
Today, it is observed in several churches as St.Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day as a mark of respect for this saint of kindly deeds. But this was also caught as a silent romantic act by the poets of the Middle Ages in England who wrote poems about love and romance in the 18th century. Suitors thought it as suitable occasion to present flowers and confectionery with the heart as a symbol. Naturally with love and youth always hand in hand, it has stuck on till this day in all parts of the world as a day to express and exchange romantic feelings, greeting cards and all sorts of expensive gifts and presents as a celebration.
Flowers say a lot
‘Say it with Flowers’ has always been the easiest way to express the emotion, and the color sometimes saying more than the verbal accompaniment. Roses are the most popular choice for just such an occasion.
The Red rose conveys love, longing desire. The White rose shows an interest in the wish to begin a long and loyal relationship. The Yellow rose shows the feeling of joy and happiness in perceiving the recipient, the Pink expresses open admiration, blooming love. The Orange rose expresses a flaming passion full of energy, while the softer Peach rose is an acknowledgement of tender emotions towards the other.
The other ways of celebrating
Every year close to the occasion, or maybe much earlier, boys and girls mostly in the teens and newly married couples eagerly await the occasion to express their romantic feelings or how much they love, to the opposite half. In modern times the fever has caught on to people of any age and you can find couples exchanging from hugs with sweet nothings to expensive gifts almost akin to a festival.
Gifts range from the pleasantly simple to those costly ones that render the recipients speechless.
Roses in significant colors, chocolates in satin and heart shaped boxes, carnations, greeting cards of fancy shapes and sizes with the most romantic messages, love coupons, the current day e-valentines to expensive brooches, watches, perfumes, dresses, jewelry, make a significant variety over time and a significant rise in the ‘cost of expressiveness’.
Naturally this year should be no different.
An International fete
Though an observance with western roots, the idea has caught on in a big way in other parts of the world despite traditional ethos of conservative societies that desired moderation in social expression. Valentine’s Day has despite bias and cultural barriers, been celebrated by the youth every year so very unabashedly, that it is assumed the level of a festival celebration that cannot be foregone.
India is one among the foremost countries in Asia that includes China, Taiwan, South Korea, Phillipines, Singapore, to imbibe this pop-culture from the US.
Celebrated in different ways, young boys and girls wish each others’ company throughout the day, at frequented haunts for the young, in isolation, in a like-minded group and indulge in fun-filled activities that mark a wonderful time and memorable day. The newly married could visit restaurants and make it to the movies while the slightly older or the more reserved types could restrict themselves to celebrations at home.
The roadblocks in India
India has for long been a traditionally conservative society where emotions like love, however strong, cannot be so very openly exhibited. But for an urban to semi-urban population of youth that does not sacrifice the traditional yet imbibes the trends of current day, it sees nothing out of the way in celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Small incidents have been happening now and then over time but from 2009 onwards it has taken more formidable dimensions where the youth has suddenly become cautious and wary of elements in society that disapprove of such public display of so-called ‘western behaviour’. There have been acts of ‘moral policing’ and ‘correction’ for those defying diktats that have been announced beforehand.
Yet for a majority of the youth brigade it is hardly a deterrent to prevent their making the most of a year-long awaited celebration that they feel they have the right to.
Valentine’s Day could be celebrated in honor of a saint acknowledged for his kind deeds, the world sees it fit to re-live and express the tender emotions of love and romance. Whatever be the reason, in a festival of beautiful sentiments and warm hearts, the world certainly gets a chance to be a better place, if even for a day.