But what is Valentine's Day? This is what Wikipedia, my one stop shop for pop-information has to say-
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christianmartyrs, Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD......It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").
No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to find any well documented, authentic link (except the name) between the early Christian martyrs and "affection between intimate companions". Even though I have a healty imagination, I am just not able to picture one of those early martyrs complete with pained expressions and arrows sticking out their back declaring their eternal love for an "intimate companion" while waiting to be beheaded. Let's just assume the usage of the name, Valentine, is purely coincidential and unintended. Which makes Valentine's Day probably the only truely non-religious, global holiday.
Since all it calls for is an "intimate companion" and "love and affection" to declare towards the said "intimate companion", the holiday transcends religion, gender, age and geography. Anybody can celebrate Valentine's Day. Everybody does.
That same India has now embraced Valentine's Day (and Rose Day, and Friendship Day, and A-Dozen-Other-Such Days) and made it it's own.
Valentine's Day is when you send a musical card to that cute guy you have been looking at for nine months, to get him to spend the rest of his life looking at you.
Valentine's Day is when you gift a heart shaped cushion to the girl you have been going out with for two years, before telling her that you would like to take her home to meet "Mother".
Clearly, all of that is grossly immoral and contrary to the grand modern traditions of Indian prudishness. So instead of digging wells, construting schools and building roads, what do the political parties do? They denounce Valentine's Day as the Secret Weapon that "the West" is using to undermine Indian culture and break the nation apart. Stores are preventing from stocking Valentine cards, florists are forced to down their shutters and couple who dare [gulp] hold hands in public are tarred and stoned.
Serves a dual purpose. The obvious one is that attention is deflected from the fact that real problems are not being solved, to the fact that Indians are daring to express their love in public. But the other objective though less overt is the real one. India has a rich tradition of sensuality (and sexuality). Centruries before the birth of the Watery Tart, ancient Hindu Goddesses had declared war on Clothes. If temple sculptures are to be believed, they wore little more than a flimsy piece of loosely cloth draped around the waist. What they did adorn themselves with, however, was jewellary.
And that's what the Modern Indian Woman is now demanding from her husband. That he gift her Diamonds on Valentine's Day to prove that his love is indeed true. Obviously, the diamond lobby is much stronger than the paper heart one.
Random aside- why is a so called "heart" shaped the way it is, when a real heart looks nothing like it? And what does the heart have to do with love anyway- isn't it all hormones?
I am not too sure if any of the Burrowers celebrated Valentine's Day (Chary may well be the only exception), but that doesn't mean you would not enjoy the Valentine Feature at the Burrow. A drabble (or more) a day, everyday on the many facets of Love.