The Real Spirit Of Valentine’s Day Is One Of Love And Understanding
Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.
– Paulo Coelho
While reading William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, especially about the scrupulous love affair of its two main characters, namely Portia and Bassanio, the absence of a ‘significant other’ in one’s life does arouse the feeling that something very crucial is missing. And imagine if the day on which lovers get close to each other and share memorable moments arrives and one is still leading a partnerless life. That pain is surely of an immeasurable magnitude.
Zephyr blows, the loose end of a girl’s saree touches one’s face and a romantic Bollywood score plays in the background: these are the scenes that come to a bachelor’s mind whenever he closes his eyes on St. Valentine’s Day. Once he opens his eyes, the bloom is gone. So, he prefers to stay still and enjoy these precious moments, even if they are only created with the help of his imagination.
Tracing its roots to ancient Rome, Valentine’s day, as it is celebrated in today’s modern world on February 14 every year, is diametrically different from what it had once been. As time passed, the day and its celebrations grew sweeter and more centered around love and understanding. It was Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare who gave a very delicate and nuanced concept of love as well as of the beloved.
The poem “Parliament of Foules,” written in the late 14th-century by Geoffrey Chaucer, is considered to be the main thought behind the origination of Valentine’s day in its true modern sense. In the poem, a group of birds decide to meet on St Valentine’s day to select their partners but eventually, they fail to do so and unanimously agree on deferring the matter to next year. According to the British Library, in 1477, a Norfolk woman Margery Brews penned down a letter to her cousin John Paston, in which she addressed him with the words “my right well-beloved Valentine.” This kind of letter is believed to be the oldest one in British history. A verse from “Parliament of Foules” is reproduced below, in its original form:
“For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s Day/ Whan every foul cometh there to chese his make.”
Meanwhile, William Shakespeare has given a fascinating concept of Valentine’s day in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which he writes that if two single people meet on Valentine’s day morning, the likelihood of their ending up getting married increases manifold.
The tradition to have a meet-up on this day continues to this day. However, the tragedy of this day in a conservative country like ours is that young lads mostly exploit their partners and such acts of corruption ultimately lead to the occasion itself earning a bad name. I really want our youth to understand the spirit of this day and to realise that no tradition or convention is inherently bad unless we make it so. I would like to conclude with the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu’s very apt quote on relationship goals that reads, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Happy Valentine’s Day!