Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 14 February 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Why we (shouldn’t) enable Valentine’s Day

(This is not ramblings of a single man/woman who finds ‘love is in the air’ to be sour grapes)

It’s Valentine’s Day! The day to get victimised by this big capitalist commercial festival of card sending and teddy bear purchasing. This big web of commercial threads were woven around us gradually, none of us are either aware, or care, about the grip it has on society.

What actually happened that led to love actually

St Valentine is a third century Roman saint who is commonly associated with ‘courtly love’. Hagiographical identity of St Valentine explains how he was martyred during the reign of emperor Claudius Gothicus of Rome and that he was punished for marrying Christian couples at a time marriage was prohibited with the intention of enrolling young men to the army.

Some historians claim that the romantic nature of the Valentine’s Day was not introduced until the middle ages and the month of February because back then, it was believed that the birds couple in mid-February. 18thcentury antiquarians Alban Butler and Francis Douce believed that February 14 was named after St Valentine to overpower the pagan holiday named Lupercalia, which was celebrated from February 13-15 to avert evil spirits and purify the city.

Commercialised love

In this season, we say love is in the air, but I would like to qualify that statement. Love is in the air for heterosexual couples who can afford the luxuries promoted by multinational companies and media today. And amidst flowers and cards and heart shaped chocolate boxes, we have forgotten the meaning of this day.

Today, the love is measure by how many roses you bought, or how big the chocolate is, or how squashy and cuddly the teddy bear is or the location to enjoy a romantic dinner. And mind you, there are many people out there to make suggestions, and whatever decision you make, you will be compared with others and judged accordingly.

The strange thing is, all this, the commercialisation, the extravagansas, are done in the name of purest love that would, if alive, have made John Keats sob himself to sleep, Bronte sisters to storm away in an angry frenzy and Jane Austen to pen that there are inappropriate social trends that reduce Darcys and Captain Wentworths to the level of Wickhams and Willoughbys.


I would like to dedicate this day to men and women who struggle every day to make their relationships work, who do not want any endorsement from multi-national companies or media to be in love with someone and to be committed to their relationship.

I would like to dedicate this day to men and women who are trying to make ends meet, daily, to honour family commitments with the limited economic resources they have, and live today like any other day with their loved ones, while the boisterous extravagant display of affection explodes in the air.

I would like to dedicate this day to the LGBT community whose love is ignored in this festive season.

I would like to dedicate this day to all the single men and women, single by choice, single not by choice, divorced, widowed, separated, etc.

I would especially like to dedicate this day to single women, who are constantly judged, questioned, and cajoled for being single, for following your dreams instead of settling down with what the society demands of you, for being the author of your own story.

And I would like to dedicate this day to you too, you, who so eagerly waited to celebrate this day. But remember, love remains in individuality, autonomy, understanding and passion, not in everything false that’s promoted today.



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