KOCHI: When Chaucer wrote ‘For this was on St Valentine’s day when every bird cometh there to choose his mate’ in his work “Valentines” he might never have imagined centuries later generations will celebrate the day with romantic connotations. Today, Valentine’s Day celebrations span over a week and have various associated days that go along. The grand celebrations, however, only dates back to a few years.
“When I was young and still in school, things were simple. You love someone, then you write them a beautiful love letter. Nowaday’s kids can’t string two meaningful words together to express their feelings. It’s the era of SMS. In India, especially, Valentine’s Day celebrations took off only in the 1990’s when TV programmes and commercials, besides love letter writing competitions popularised the concept. The day became a business opportunity with cards forming the central part of the celebrations. The most important fact is that the celebrations became popular after its commercialisation. Personally, I celebrate love every day,” said Ambika Nayar, TV personality and social worker.
According to Lakshmi Menon, a lecturer, the various protests that happen whenever a Western holiday assumes importance is a step back for the society. “Moral policing levels are expected to increase this Valentine’s day, if the warnings issued by certain groups are taken into account,” said Lakshmi.
All these issues don’t seem to shake the people who are all set to celebrate the day.
From teddy bears to Valentine’s Day special chocolates, gift items and cards, shops have all turned red and pink with customers flowing in to purchase the festival goods. “Even credit card companies have come up with offers on Valentine’s day. It was a surprise really. It seems the market is expanding every year. I personally do not need a day to celebrate my love. Every day with my partner is a day of love,” said Karthika Nair, entrepreneur.