Abstinence over Valentine’s Day?
Since 1945, today is the first time that Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day clash, creating a dilemma whether to observe the day with abstinence or celebrate it with extravagances. Café speaks to a few couples to know their plans for the day
When the day begins with a solemn mass observing Ash Wednesday with the words, ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return’, romance cannot be on the mind. For the first time in 73 years, there are two events happening on the same day, today -- Ash Wednesday, that marks the beginning of Lent, and Valentine’s Day, considered the most romantic day of the year. While Valentine’s Day is usually celebrated with wine and a romantic dinner, the holy obligations of Ash Wednesday include receiving ashes, abstaining from meat and fasting. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are two days which require fasting and abstinence. Most couples in Goa, understand the importance of Ash Wednesday which takes precedence over Valentine’s Day . A bank manager and a passionate deejay in his off time, Benson Coutinho from Porvorim has already planned his day for today. “God is very sacred to me and I am going to observe Ash Wednesday religious without wine and meat. We plan to bring in Valentine’s Day with a quiet dinner at midnight and then attend the Ash Wednesday mass in the morning. My parents are very open-minded and they would not have any problem with me celebrating Valentine’s Day. However, Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and I give more importance to my religion. Love can be celebrated for the rest of the 364 days of the year,” says Benson. Lily De Costa from Panjim will be surprising her boyfriend today by cooking a sumptuous meal. “I have already decided on the dishes I will prepare for a nice romantic vegan dinner at home which will be definitely worthwhile. Since the previous day is the last day of Carnival, we will be out for a party. On Ash Wednesday, I will be going for Mass in the evening and spend the day at home, keeping everyone in the family happy,” says Lily, a banker. For many Ash Wednesday is of more importance compared to celebrating a single day of love. Clinton Mascarenhas, a drummer with the Goan band True Blue is of the same opinion. “I have cancelled the celebration plans of Valentine’s Day this year as I will be fasting and I can’t eat meat on Ash Wednesday. I give first preference for religion. Usually for Valentine’s Day, I plan a dinner date with my girlfriend, but this year we will celebrate it together either at her or my home. We plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 15, 2018,” says Clinton. “If you are in love, you will be celebrating Valentine’s Day throughout the year,” says Marsha Kim D’Souza, co-founder of MAC Events. “Ash Wednesday is a very solemn day and it should be observed religiously. I will be going for mass in the morning and abstaining from meats. It is the day marking the start of Lent and Valentine’s Day can be celebrated any other day. If the days didn’t coincide, I would have planned a nice dinner or would hang out with my friends,” says Marsha. The ripples of these cancellations are showing across the usual Valentine’s Day dinner haunts. There is an increase drop in the number of reservations and people will be observing the day at home instead of a candle light dinner. Donovan Vaz, proprietor of Firefly in Benaulim says, “We usually have a complimentary glass of wine for the ladies and something different for the couples celebrating Valentine’s Day. However, this year, we have so far not received any reservations which would usually get full by this time. We also won’t be doing anything special on Ash Wednesday, the pace will pick up on February 15, 2018 for the season.” Ash Wednesday will also coincide with Valentine’s Day in 1923 and 1934 and will coincide again in 2024 and 2029. Christians will face a similar clash of days with Easter and April Fool’s Day overlapping on April 1, 2018.
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