Valentine’s day is not a national day, nor it is a common festival in Nepal. But still, Nepalese people, especially in the urban areas/ cities observe this day with huge fanfare. It does not have any touch with Nepali history and civilization as well. So then, why do you think Valentine’s Day in Nepal is such a huge thing these days?
History of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s day is the Christian feast day. It is celebrated annually on February 14, honoring a Christian martyr named Saint Valentine of Rome. Valentine performed weddings for Christian soldiers who were forbidden to marry. ‘King Claudius II’ wanted to extend his army and make his state strong. As a result, the king sentenced ‘Valentine’ to death. Since valentine helped in blooming romances then, the day commemorates his contribution to keeping the romance alive in AD 269. Later in AD 496, Pope Gelasius I established the day as a celebration in honor of Valentine.
Since when did Nepal start celebrating the Day
This pretty much explains it is a festival, that originated and is mostly celebrated in the west. Valentine’s Day in Nepal is also celebrated with equal zeal and fanfare. However, this is not something Nepal had been witnessing for a long time. It was only around the ’90s, that people started to talk about, or be fascinated about this day.
With the heavy influence of westernization or let’s say modernization in the eastern countries, valentine’s day made its way to Nepal. Arts, movies, music was the mediator in exchange or rather, the influence of western practices in the east. Gradually, the pop culture attributed to the comprehensive marking of this day in Nepal. And to this day, it’s not only February 14 but the whole first fortnight that is embraced as the time for romance. The fortnight takes onboard the rose day, hug day, teddy day, chocolate day, and some more.
Understanding of Valentine’s Day in Nepal
The majority of people in Nepal take this day as a day of love. People have termed it ‘Prem Dibas’ or ‘Pranaya Dibas’- the literal meaning of which is ‘Love Day’. It could also be due to a vague understanding of why this day exists or is celebrated. In general understanding, teenagers to adults under 30s/40s celebrate this day to express love for their significant others. Also, singles take this day as a huge opportunity to say “I love you” to the person they love and start a relationship with them. Keeping this in mind, businesses expedite the availability of certain products on this day, including red roses, chocolates, greeting cards, and teddy bears among others. Also, the whole city is painted red due to the red-themed street programs, concerts, special events at restaurants, humongous decorations at the malls and shopping centers to attract more people and engagements there. Thus, Valentine’s day in Nepal is also a day for extra business.
Reasons why Valentine’s Day in Nepal is popular
One more reason why valentines day is growing more interesting among Nepalese people with the passage of time could also be high religious tolerance in Nepal. If we remember, back in school days (if you are a 90’s kid), we studied a chapter in the social book about the religious tolerance we have in our country. The respect for each others’ religion, culture, customs, and traditions in Nepal is comparatively more. Thus, because of the same liberal thought, we might have been ‘welcoming’ towards any festivals or special day that is widely celebrated elsewhere. And it’s not bad to pick up any tradition that makes us feel good unless it has a downside to it.
Why the exception?
However, a certain share of the total population in Nepal takes it as a threat as well. In previous years, several couples were seen as quite open-minded about their expression of love, which is still taken as an offense in a country like Nepal, where public display of affection PDAs are still not very preferred. In addition to that, schools and college students are found overtly influenced by the idea of love, and within the strict discipline, even protection/contraceptive devices have also been found in their school bags in the past years.
Well, as long as people observe it like an event and spread love among each other, not otherwise exploiting the essence of the celebration, we say it is okay for anyone who seeks an excuse to celebrate or be with their partner, cherish love. However, we also think you don’t need an extra day for love. Treating your partner indifferent for the rest of the 364 days just to make it an eventful day only for that particular 24 hours to outshine makes no sense.
That’s it for today, Don’t forget to comment if you think we missed including something or you have any fresh perspective on the topic to share. Lastly, Happy Valentine’s Day!