The language of Love does not need words. Messages of love can be conveyed through veiled glances, lingering gestures and sometimes just being there is enough to show your darling how much you love them. It has been very rightly said that the eyes are windows of our heart and when it comes to love, the look in your eyes says it all.
INDIA – THE CRADLE OF LOVE
Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is celebrated all across the world. But, in India, do we know the origin of Valentine’s Day? India has enduring love stories kept alive over centuries in our folktales from every corner of the country. The sculptures of Khajuraho elucidate the importance of love in our society. Timeless love stories speak not only of love but also its sacrifices. India is and always has been the cradle and homeland of love.
ORIGIN OF VALENTINE’S DAY
People say that Valentine’s Day originated from St. Valentine a Roman martyr who had refused to give up Christianity. Some say that St. Valentine left a note for his girlfriend, who was a jailor’s daughter and signed it as ‘FROM YOUR VALENTINE’. Another perception says that St. Valentine served as a priest during the supremacy of Emperor Claudius. St. Valentine was jailed by the Emperor for confronting him. In 469 AD, Pope Gelasius set Feb 14 as a day to honour St. Valentine. Yet another version relies on medieval belief that all the birds paired and mated on the 14 February
HISTORY OF LOVE IN INDIA
Our culture has its own take on love. Be it the Konark Sun-Temple, Vatsayana’s Kamasutra or Khajuraho, all lay bare the existence of love in India from ancient times. Konark temple is known for its erotic sculptures of Maithuna, which is a Sanskrit word, meaning ‘sexual union’. Khajuraho is associated with Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, khajuraho is the place where Lord Shiva got married, honoring ‘Matanga’ the God of Love.
The great Indian festival of MahaShivratri- symbolizing the marriage of SHIVA AND SHAKTI, the union of the male and female energies, is celebrated on the 14th day of the Indian lunar month of ‘phagun’. Shivratri (the night of Shiva) celebrated in North India, is always a moonless night. According to Hindu folk traditions, couples are not allowed to sleep during Shivratri night. In villages and small towns, families and communities get together, play music and dance. The older people make sure that the young couples are left alone together deliberately. The courtyards are resounding with Shivratri Bhajans and risqué folk songs of fertility and love. Everyone makes sure that the couples don’t get any sleep that night!
Other Indian days of Love are Teej and karvachauth. Days dedicated to traditionally married and nowadays committed couples. Women dress up like new brides for their husbands and celebrate the day with each other. Holi is yet another day of revelry and celebration of fertility and love. Thandai, an intoxicating drink is prepared with bhang- cannabis leaves; this is also mixed with drinks and sweets. In Gujarat, the Navratras was a fertility fiesta that lasted 9 days… Girls and boys dress up for dandiya and dance through the night with many marriages being fixed during the festival.
The first Valentine card was sent by the Duke of Orleans, Charles, to his wife when he was in prison in the Tower of London in 1415. Since then it became a tradition to express love through cards and flowers, primarily Red and Pink Roses. Modernization has transformed this tradition from not only exchanging of flowers and cards but also expressing love through instant messaging.
Be it a 70-year-old couple or a teenager. Maybe at home, school, college or even in the office every moment is meant to be special with the special one. So Valentine’s Day is just another day of love in the colorful calendar of Indian Festivals…a day of Shudh Desi Romance