After 73 years, this year Ash Wednesday has coincided with Valentine’s Day. On one hand is Ash Wednesday, where the Christian community fasts and abstain from worldly pleasure and on the other hand is Valentine’s Day – a day of wining and dining for many couples. While these two seem to be on the opposite sides of the emotional fence NT BUZZ finds out from people about what are their plans for February 14
A goofy calendar quirk has given the layman a small clash, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day have come on the same day and this has happened after 73 years. Both these days have they are own significance and importance. While Ash Wednesday is an important day to the Christian community – a day to remind people that ‘from dust you came, and to dust you shall return’ – persuading people to introspect and change their ways as they will not take anything along with them after they die except their good deeds.
February 14 is also Valentine’s Day, dedicated to Saint Valentine. In recent times, the day has seen a commercial side and there are weeklong activities starting from February 7 with Rose Day when people gift their loved ones roses as a symbol of their affection; followed by Promise Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day and Kiss Day; giving people plenty of opportunities to convey their love to their dear ones.
Love and sacrifices
For this season of lent, assistant parish priest of Nuvem, Fr Doel Dias gives a message of love and sacrifice to the people, he says: “Jesus has rightly said: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ Jesus loved all of us unconditionally. He died on the cross and sacrificed his life for us. Today, both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday is coinciding which not only tells us to love one another but also to do small little deeds to make everyone around us happy. If one really wants to follow Lent then go ahead and help people who are in need, control their anger, avoid fighting and holding on to grudges”
An individual decision
While Saloni Gaunekar from Ponda feels that it depends on each one to choose wisely what matters most to them. “Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day have occurred on the same day and it is fine. It is an individual decision of how they want to celebrate their day. Some may be more pious and may not prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day while some may be carefree to only enjoy with their Valentine. This day has become very commercial nowadays; and today with Ash Wednesday boys will find an excuse not to gift anything to their girls and maybe girls won’t expect anything.”
“I feel Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday can be celebrated according to each one’s decision. However, they must do it purely by heart. They should attend mass if they really want to. They shouldn’t force themselves to do anything. Valentine’s Day is commercialised and it’s true that exchanging gift is the new trend now. In fact the couples fight if the gifts are not bought for each other, and I think at least on Ash Wednesday they must maintain a healthy relation with each other,” says Raia-based Akshada Raikar.
It’s just another day
For Anuvea Fernandes from Siolim, February 14 is just a normal day just like the rest. She says that if someone really wants to whole-heartedly follow Lent then they need not fast and avoid food but work on improving their lives. “For me it’s a normal day from tomorrow till the end of the 40 days. Lent to me is fasting not from food but doing away with bad things and being a better human. Instead of fasting I would advise people to stay away from eating junk food. Also, as it’s Valentine’s Day today I think people should celebrate everyday as Valentine’s day and not only constrain themselves to just one day.”
While Alisha Rodrigues from Sangolda has a similar view on Valentine’s Day, she believes that love cannot be celebrated on one particular day or week. “To me religion and love both are important, and I strongly opine that more than loving each other only on a day or one week, love should rather last forever. We usually do not celebrate Valentine’s Day or the week for that matter as we feel that things can’t express love and feelings are more important.”
V-Day, a marketing gimmick
Margao-based Enid Sobrinho feels that V-Day is a marketing strategy to increase profits. She says that shops, hotels and restaurants with their fancy advertising and offers tend to brainwash the minds of consumers; instead of spending money on availing these offers one should spend the same amount on those who are in need of it. “This year’s Valentine’s day has coincided with Ash Wednesday. So, instead of doing something exclusively for your partner, youngsters could do something for those who are less fortunate by means of kind deeds like visiting an orphanage or an old aged home, spending a day with the elders of our family to make them feel loved and wanted. In the older times, this fast was limited to food and drinks but today it has widened to a fast from the things that we are not supposed to do, for instance, fast from selfishness, grudges or anger.”
(Inputs by Sachi Naik, Venita Gomes and Sheras Fernandes)