“Yo girl…. would you be my valentine tomorrow??”The man sitting next to me on the TTC today was asking someone over the phone. From the beautiful looks of him, I could guess he was from Southeast Asia. But his accent, attitude, lowered pants, and the jewelry (?) gave a vibe of a local boy of Scarborough. I started thinking about how my very traditional Bangladeshi mother would react around him. She would certainly make a sour face and say the world of the new generation is being flushed down the toilet.
Last year I wrote a piece on the way my mother looks at Valentine’s Day. It is a fairly new concept for the Generation “X” (generation of my mother)of our country. Therefore, it is difficult for her to accept the current celebrations and festivities that roam around this day. Little do they know, Valentine’s Day is an age-old tradition started from the 3rd century Rome (where the term “Romantic” came from).
With technological advancement from the early ’90s, people from the east (Indian subcontinent) get to know more about people from the west and the mass influence of western media brought us many traditions like Valentine’s Day. But the funny thing is young people from our region do not really celebrate or appreciate the concept as the western societies do. For us, Valentine’s Day is mostly for unmarried couples who are still students. Only a few married people celebrate this occasion. Even though, Saint Valentine was killed for marrying people in secret when marriage was forbidden. Therefore, Valentine’s Day should be for married people only.
It’s very sad to say that non-consensual sex is a very big part of our Valentine’s Day. Other than those people spending a ridiculous amount of time, effort and money on gifts and restaurants are illogical. However, we also have to think about why kids act like that around valentine’s day. Well, it could be our lack of education regarding human sexuality and the process of expressing our inner feelings. We teach our children to bottle our feelings up and we never learn how to deal with them.
On the contrary, the western world celebrates the concept of “LOVE”. My 5 years old niece brings home heart candy and the retirement home I volunteer for every Wednesday evening arranges a special Valentine’s Day event. Therefore, they include the entire population. They celebrate the love they feel for the people they care for. It’s a beautiful thing. Although there is a huge part that is influenced by the mass media and the marketing companies. On the other hand, this special day of showing love always raises the question that –
We are the nation of Rabindranath, and I believe he is the most romantic figure in the world (even more than Saint Valentine). We are not unfamiliar with love, but we do have our own way of expressing it. Our parents and grandparents celebrated their love with eminence passion. They do not need a special day for it. My grandma would wait for letters sent from my grandpa when he did his business in Kolkata. My mother still sheds tears for my father when she eats something that my father loved even after 15 years of his passing. I think this is the pure expression of love. My mother was loved, so was my father and my grandparents. I guess that’s the love we long for our entire life.