Love Is In The Air

373622275_ff73c7b37d.jpgI seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
–Rabindranath Tagore

Love is in the air, and as lovers embrace each other oblivious of their surroundings completely unaffected by what others might think, the celebration of Valentine’s Day is in full swing.

On Valentine’s Day, people express their love for their dear ones. Flowers’ sale, especially those of roses rise, as roses are considered the best and the easiest way to express love towards your beloved. Someone has rightly said, “The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart”. Flowers are the nature’s best creation, so much so that their very existence seems to give a new meaning of life, and they are seen as messengers of love. They fill our hearts with joy, eyes with beauty and minds with serenity. They also express our feelings that may fall short of words. It’s a traditional way of saying “I Love You”, and lovers swear by this method of expressing their love.The Valentine season commenced with all the parks, gardens, restaurants being crowded by lovers.

It’s the magic of this day that brings two souls together and lets them celebrate their love. Love is essentially everywhere and is cultivated in every heart; for some it is an experience to be cherished forever and for some, just a recurring season.

This day has a history which most people are unfamiliar with. St. Valentine’s Day started during the time of the Roman Empire, when February 14th was celebrated to honor Juno, the Goddess of women and marriage. February 15th was the Feast of Lupercalia, the pairing festival, which brought a boy and a girl together to converse by the method of drawing lots.

However, the Emperor of Rome faced many difficulties in getting soldiers to join his military league since men were attached to their families and loved ones. So he forbade men and women from marrying and cancelled all the previous marriages and engagements. A priest called “the good Saint Valentine” came to the rescue of these couples and secretly married them off. As a result of this act, he was punished by the Emperor and sentenced to death. During his imprisonment, St. Valentine fell in love with the jailor’s blind daughter and wrote her a letter expressing his love for her. On 14th February, 269 A.D. he suffered martyrdom, making this day the modern world ‘Valentine’s Day’.

A question that has often troubled me is that whether the Valentine’s Day is meant only for lovers to express their feelings or is there a much deeper meaning to it? It is not just an occasion where people can express unconditional towards their beloved, but also they can show their love towards the Almighty and towards their parents. After all, its all about loving your dear ones and expressing it as well, since one doesn’t get time often enough to tell others about their own feelings.

Valentine’s Day also has regional traditions in the UK. In Norfolk, a character called ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. In Denmark & Norway, Valentine’s Day is known as Valentinsdag. Though it is not celebrated on a large scale, a lot of people take time off on this day for a romantic candlelight dinner with their partners, or to send a card to their beloved, or give a red rose to their loved one. In Sweden, it is referred to as Alla hjärtans dag (“All Hearts’ Day”). In Japan this is known as giri-choko, from the words giri (“obligation”) and choko, (“chocolate”). Valentine’s Day in Japan and Korea is seen as a day on which women and men gift candy, chocolate or flowers to each other.

Thus this day is based on a tale of love, affection, warmth and fondness that has given us all a reason to celebrate love.

Ravi Agarwala

[image by Capt Kodak]