As elsewhere in the world, couples—- both young and old—- in Dhaka and elsewhere of the country celebrated Valentine’s Day on Thursday to celebrate love, friendship and affection.
Couples spent time with each other and exchanged gifts, including candy, flowers, chocolates and other gifts to celebrate their relationship and the joys of togetherness.In the city, the Dhaka University was the centre point of Valentine’s Day celebration with hundreds of young couples thronging the Teacher and Student Centre (TSC) and adjacent areas to spend the day in joy and festivity.
Jannatul Ferduos Tansey, a final year student of Dhaka University, said, “On this day, we exchange flowers and gifts as an expression of our love, compassion and togetherness.”
The history of Valentine’s Day is unclear but the most common tale is that the name Valentine originated from the third-century Catholic priest named Valentine.
Journalist-turned-politician Shafik Rehman is widely credited for introducing the celebrations surrounding the Valentine’s Day. As usual, the Ekushey Book Fair was also another popular destination for the couples to spend Valentine’s Day. Besides, parks, restaurants and eateries were packed with loved ones, especially young couples since the morning.
In DU campus, a group of students brought out a satiric ‘protest rally’ under the banner of ‘Single Men’s Association’ to show disapproval to the celebration of Valentine’s Day. Dhaka University Debating Society also organised a ‘comic debate’ marking the day.
Another DU student Md Shoaib said: “On this day, we should also show respect and love to the people who are always being neglected in the society.”For young lovers, particularly those in the cities, the day is special for exchanging gifts, Valentine cards and flowers. For many, is a day to show love to parents by giving them gifts and taking them out to restaurants serving their favourite foods. Different cultural, social and business organisations organised cultural events with TV channels are broadcasting special programmes on the day.
Valentine’s Day celebrations are relatively new in Bangladesh but media and commercial culture have made it a hugely popular one. Shops were found to be offering an increasing variety of Valentine-themed sales on the day. According to the historical brief, Saint Valentine defied the Roman emperor Claudius II, who had imposed a ban on marriage, and arranged nuptials for young lovers in secret. He was then put to death by the emperor.
History has it that Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter when in confinement. Before his death, his last words in a letter to his sweetheart were: “From your Valentine”.