Wednesday, February 15, 2012

V for Valentine (and not for Vendetta)


An American artist named Gilf made this for Iran on Valentine, calling it "To Tehran with Love"

"What are your plans for this Valentine?"

This is the question my friend asked me 2-3 (or maybe 4, I can't remember!) years ago when we were on the bus going home. I said I'm single and I had got no plans, she said "so what!" and I could give presents to my friends instead, as she does so every year. I was thinking that's a nice idea as another girl said she got so many presents from her friends on V-day; but come on, how can I give a card to my friends with the sentence "the day I found you, I found love" on it?!!!

Valentine for me has always been like other days of the year, but it's been celebrated hotly in Iran like other countries. We might not celebrate Christmas, and the western New Year either, but when it comes to an occasion to celebrate love and affection, it's another story.

St Valentine's Day became popular in Iran in recent years, when I was a child I didn't hear of it, I feel it wasn't very common in my early teens as well, but with the coming of medias like the Internet and satellites which introduced the Western culture better to us, also with relaxed years of Khatami's presidency when Iranian youth got more freedom, it became a special day for Iranian couples.

Around 14th February in Iran you can see gift shops put more and more things in their displays and decorate it with red, malls and shopping centres getting more packed, sales in clothes shops wink at you, and also the traffic jam getting heavier in Tehran streets. They all say one thing: let's celebrate it and have fun, no matter what the government say.

The Iranian government disprove of this event (could someone please tell me our government approve of what exactly?) and on some occasions tried to force shops not to sell anything related to Valentine, as they consider it something Western and in opposition with the Islamic culture, but who really cares?! Viva Valentine.

Some Iranians who insist on keeping Persian heritage alive say in ancient Persia (today's Iran) there was a special day similar to Valentine called Sepandar Mazgan which is on 17th February, three days later than Valentine. The first time I heard about it was four years ago when I got some informative emails from some of my friends who tried to introduce this day to others. But I didn't see anyone celebrate Sepandar Mazgan in Iran. I just got a text message from a friend 3 years ago who also typed the name of the day wrongly!

Anyway, I surprised one of my friends this Valentine. I'll post it on here later!

I wish you all have had a nice day this year, whether you're single, in a relationship, married or divorced. And don't forget the value of friendship.

I personally enjoyed the sales in shops and bought a cool nice white T-shirt for myself with this motto on it: "I pretend to work"!!!

On BBC Persian you can see photos of Valentine in Tehran.

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