Valentine’s Day: Know More About The Day Of Love

**Bhubaneswar:** The history of Valentine’s Day and the story of its patron saint St. Valentine is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. Every February 14, across the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this day?

We owe it to the ancient Romans, when the emperor Claudias had prohibited marriage, because the soldiers preferred staying with their fiancées instead of going to war. A catholic priest Valentine celebrated marriages in secret, which finally led him to persecution and prison. Since that time St Valentine has become to be known as the patron of love, commitment, the romantic expression of feelings, and so on. This is the most romantic holiday, singing the anthem to love, tenderness and shared sympathy.

Valentine’s Week starts from February 7 to February 14. It is also the best chance to show your love and care to that special person, whatever your relationships with them are, through simple or more elaborated gestures. Building up the hype of Valentine’s Day are the seven days that come before — Rose Day, Propose Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day, Promise Day, Kiss Day, Hug Day — in that order before the big V-Day comes a-calling.

The big day is celebrated on February 14, the day which commemorates love in all its forms, shapes and sizes. Couples mark the day by exchanging gifts and spending quality time with each other. Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. Many get engaged or married to make this day all the more special.

In India, in ancient times, there was a tradition of adoring Kamadeva, the lord of love; illustrated by the erotic carvings in the Khajuraho and by the writing of Kamasutra. This tradition was lost around the Middle Ages, when Kamadeva was no longer celebrated, and public displays of sexual affection became frowned upon. This repression of public affections persisted until the 1990s.

With the advent of electronic media and economic liberalization, Valentine’s Day celebrations caught up attention in the country. However, extremist groups like Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena have dubbed these celebrations as ‘vulgar display of affection in public’ which is alien to our ‘Indian culture’. Their members play a spoilsport on this occasion by assaulting the young couples in public or forcibly marrying them off on this particular day.

Despite these obstacles, Valentine’s Day is becoming increasingly popular in India. Youngsters wait for this day eagerly to profess their love to ‘someone special’ and enjoy every moment of togetherness.