By Kimberly Rowe, Mumbai Reporter: Saint Valentine’s Day traditionally known as Valentine’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated days in India despite complaints from religious groups that it is offending the Indian tradition and culture, and further westernizing the Indian population. The Indian society does not approve of PDA (Public Displays of Affection) between men and women. However, all this is being wilfully ignored by many people, especially the younger generation. Providing a contrast opinion to most youngsters is Kevin Muthu. He states, “Love is not for the young. Therefore, Valentine’s Day is not meant to be celebrated by youngsters. The age at we are, we do not know right from wrong. Most young couples make such mistakes and sooner or later end up broken.”
Valentine’s Day is equally significant and precious to both the youth (unmarried couples) and married couples. This day gives a reason and opportunity to married couples to express their love and celebrate a long-lasting happy married life and good fortune of being together, forever.
The primary custom associated with Valentine’s Day is the mutual exchange of love notes called ‘valentines’. Starting in the 19th century, the practice of hand written notes began to give way to the exchange of greeting cards. These cards are no longer given just to lovers but also to friends, family, classmates and co-workers. Common symbols on valentines are hearts, heart shaped balloons and the figure of the winged cupid. The colours donned on this special day are red, pink and white. The practise of exchanging cards has been extended to include the giving of gifts. The most popular Valentine’s Day gifts are roses, chocolates, candies, teddy bears, diamonds or a surprise dinner. Anirudh Raghupathy approvingly says, “I would suggest gifting a teddy bear to your valentine as girls are flattered by soft toys and find them cute. Also, taking them out for a candlelight dinner guarantees quality time together that strengthens the bond.” On the other hand, Alina Shaikh believes in keeping it simple and sweet. “A red rose and LOL (Loads of Love)!” is what she suggests.
Though Valentine’s Day is a relatively new concept in India, it has acquired great significance over the past years. Like always, this year too, cafes, restaurants and hotels are fully booked; florists and gift shops are experiencing large crowds and doing record business. The Indian Post Office is also brimming with letters and greeting cards while e-mails, e-greetings and text messages are the novel technological ways of expressing your love and affection toward your valentine.
Euphoria of Valentine’s Day festival can be experienced weeks before the actual day. Television, radio and print media begin to create hype about the occasion. Gift marketers and card companies launch a rigorous campaign to entice youngsters while shopping malls in metropolitan cities organize fun-filled competitions and distribute discount coupons to lure the consumers.
Two of our avid readers, Bharath and Tharun Kumar collectively shared their personal tips and secrets with us. “This is the most awaited day by couples. Always attempt to do more than what your partner expects. A movie, the beach or a simple dinner date could highlight your Valentine’s Day celebration. The icing on the cake would be a special gift (preferably a ring, necklace, watch, perfume or handbag), poem or song specially dedicated to your valentine. Even a personalized t-shirt, mug, bracelet, pillow cover, bouquet or photo frame could work wonders!” they expressed.
Love is a natural and beautiful feeling and bonding that gives us the vigour to live life wisely, happily, generously, and meaningfully. Spice up your Valentine’s Day celebrations with elegant and exotic ideas thus making your celebration, unique and memorable. Wishing every one of you, a happy and promising Valentine’s Day 2012!