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The invention of a day to celebrate Valentine's Day has gained supporters in all countries, even among those who believe that it was invented by merchants to milk our pockets.
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
I am writing in the pink of Valentine’s Day about the saint who is no longer one and didn’t even have a happy ending, even though the world celebrates him. The legend of St. Valentine is practically universal today. According to the myth, he was born Catholic, apostolic and Roman at a time when there were believers—so many believers—that they were ready to die for their beliefs. It can be assumed that a great change in a religion occurs when its followers stop wanting to die for it or wanting to abuse or kill in its name. But Christianity was nothing like that in the year 270. A priest named Valentine performed weddings for Christian soldiers who were forbidden to marry and defied the emperor’s order that unmarried young men were more apt for combat. The good priest was discovered and arrested, and he ended up being beheaded. It was the same empire, with another sovereign, that later made him the patron saint of lovers. And again in 1969, the Roman Catholic Church removed St. Valentine’s Day from the calendar due to doubts about its veracity.
That is history. Here we are today with limitless commercial offers to celebrate the day of the saint who is no longer a saint. In one of my WhatsApp groups, I just saw an advertisement floating that recommended:
“All singles can book the table now; we’ll organise a partner!”
The invention of a day to celebrate Valentine’s Day has gained supporters in all countries, even among those who believe that it was invented by merchants to milk our pockets. The math of Valentine’s Day is big. Business, they say, is round and the economy flows well: lovers need to impress each other, and once the format is established, it is difficult to deny a gift, an armful of roses, a special dinner with candles and good wine, a mutually dreamed-up surprise plan, and even vows of eternal love. All this and more to celebrate love. The shy, hesitant, fragile, and uncertain lovers are required to prove their love even more.
Valentine’s Day comes in handy, and there are no excuses not to buy, consume, or offer gifts. Whatever the nature of love, Saint Valentine’s Day celebrations enshrine this model: sentimental romance, with champagne or other spirits, drooling conversation, and soft light from the essential candles. We can add music and gourmet cuisine, and le voilà – we reproduce the illusion of love or we reinforce it. This format must be followed, and God forbid, if we don’t celebrate like this, there is a problem with us. Experts guarantee that this method enhances the love quotient. Falling in love involves biological factors, and hormones in the brain like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. These cause semi-hallucination almost like drugs. The entire celebratory gamut creates the haze of love all around us.
I, therefore, recommend two things here. Firstly, avoid the heaviest contemporary lie that sells us the idea that this celebratory model of love is mandatory for us to be happy. The love quotient is enhanced with tender loving care, and it does not need anything more complicated. Secondly, I recommend that we add a simple wish to the long list we have invented to celebrate Valentine’s Day: that in our current relationships, whatever the gender of our partner, we look at each other as equals.
After all, we are all equals. We are nothing else but equals in love and there is no other mathematics in love.
Bindiya is a linguist and works for a diplomatic mission in New Delhi. She is a published author, reluctant poet, passionate bibliotherapist and a happiness harbinger. Her heart beats in her community-building volunteer organization - “ read more...
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