I am no big fan of Valentine’s Day. My wife and I think it is silly to celebrate our love on the one specific day of the year when all the florists, shopkeepers and restaurants have their knives out to slaughter lovers with exorbitant prices. In the modern context, Valentine’s Day is just another over-hyped, commercial event. Historically, the romantic associations with Valentine’s Day has nothing to do with Saint Valentine who was not remembered as some patron of lovers. Valentine is remembered on that day because he was a martyr who was brutally killed for his faith. Inspirational, maybe. Romantic? No.
Apparently, the first known association of Valentine’s Day with romance and love comes from Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem “Parlement of Foules” which was written in 1382. In the poem, he wrote;
“For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate”
So, apparently, Chaucer was referring to a special day when birds in Britain choose their mate. And even then, he may also have exercised poetic license cause February 14th is way too early and cold for returning birds to be turning to thoughts of love.
So, Valentine’s Day to me is just a load of hogwash. Still, I respect the right of the gullible to fall for the modern marketing gimmicks and the right of hopeless romantics to knock themselves out to celebrate the loves of their lives. Hey, it can even be fun watching some of their antics.Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Celebrating Valentine’s can be costly, And land you in jail too.
However, be warned that since 2005 Muslims in Malaysia can be arrested for celebrating Valentine’s Day and in fact more than 100 Muslim couples were arrested last year. Proponents and supporters of this “law” give three main reasons;
- Valentine’s Day is associated with elements of Christianity.
- Celebrating Valentine’s Day leads to immoral acts (they call it sinful sexual gratification day).
- Asking someone to be your Valentine is akin to idolatry.
The Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) is pushing for more arrests this year for Muslim couples out on the town celebrating this terrible Day. They are also asking the government to ban hotels from offering any Valentine’s Day specials which they say may lead to couples spending an illicit night at the hotels. Finally, they are asking the government to place public service announcements on national television to warn Muslims from celebrating the Day. What killjoys!
Perhaps the ladies are more romantic cause the Sisters in Islam (SIS) spoke out against PAS’s anti-Valentine’s Day campaign. One of SIS members was quoted as saying, ““It will be better for them to concentrate on other important matters like the backlog of syariah cases in court or the payment of alimony to wife and children.”
Right on, ladies. As I said, I am no big fan of Valentine’s Day but I believe that those who want to, have every right to pay five times the normal price for flowers or blow a month’s salary on a romantic dinner. After all as they say “love makes fools of us all” and “fools and their money are soon parted.”
Happy Valentine’s Day young lovers wherever you are.