Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

When growing up in India, February 14th only meant wishing my maternal grandmother on her birthday. Of course, I still remember my grandmother today though she is no more. But as I stepped into adolescence and India moved into the 1990s, February 14th meant a lot more. Initially, celebrated by a handful of youngsters studying in metropolitan colleges, Valentine’s Day was seen as an import of western culture. However, it did not take long for the urban fancy to spread into a country-wide frenzy that also sparked some fundamentalist condemnation. Not everyone seemed gung-ho about this day, translated into vernacular as the “Lover’s day”. So much so that a couple of years ago, people were even apprehensive of wearing red on this day! All this because of a wrong interpretation of the day named after “Saint Valentine’. Here in the US, and for most part of the Western world, Valentine’s day celebrates LOVE in general and not just romantic love.

Valentine’s Day is a day to let your friends, family and well wishers know how much they mean to you. Most libraries have V-day card- making programs and most schools require the children to make V-day cards for their arts and crafts projects. Of course, the retailers have a vested interest in acting as PR representatives of Cupid. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t want my husband to get caught in this V Day euphoria! :-) You can’t help getting emotional as your son hands over his glue smelling V day card he’s put together for you( you have his school to thank for that, of course!)

Today I read “ Valentine’s day” by Gail Gibbons which explains the origins of Valentine’s day and how it was celebrated earlier and how it evolved over a period of time. This book attempts to educate kids about the significance of all the heart shaped cards, cakes, candies, laces, ribbons and flowers. With its bright red illustrations, children get to live through the V- day celebrations and a chance to say “ I love you” to the one reading this book. Happy Valentine’s day to everyone!

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