Reproducing here a quick and hurried response written by yours truly to a mail about Love Day, briefly explaining the history of Love Day. Here you go.
The fin de siècle ideas of the 19th century were a harbinger of what was to come in the 20th. In the late 1890s, Hallmark decided that after ‘holidays’ like Second Cousin’s Day, Third Ex-Wife’s Day, the ever-popular Secretary’s Day, Celebrate Stepping on Dog Poo Day and other such, they decided they didn’t still have what developers would call ‘a killer app’. The International Consortium of Florists also were thinking along the same lines. And chocolate manufacturers, who wanted to expand beyond their kiddies & sweet tooth market. They decided to join forces and on the suggestion of a certain Mrs.Gaskell - who had read a lot of Geoffrey Chaucer – decided to have a Love Day.
Love Day was promoted hither and thither, helter and skelter. Love Day was everywhere. And soon Love Day was a runaway success, and an established holiday of sorts. It was to hit a slight road block in the second decade of the 20th century when this ‘tradition’ hit Indian shores and it was also during this time that enterprising Indians were spreading across the world, bangalore-ing people even before the term was invented.
It first came to light when Edward Frederick Lindley Wood – more popularly known as Lord Halifax, the then Viceroy Of India – announced to a large gathering of eminent people (the page 3 crowd of that time) from across the country – in a rare exception when Indians and dogs were allowed in.
In his broken hindi, Lord Halifax declared to the assemblage, “Kaal ham log saab milekar Love Day ka Ball karengey. Full India hamara Love Day ka Ball dekhega, sunega.” He of course meant a Ball Dance, as in dancing/gathering. But the remark, understandably created a furore when the Indians objected to such shameless exhibitionism. They had to be calmed down as they were under the (mis)understanding that there would be an orgy – especially since the Viceroy had said that everybody had to karo-fy the grand Love Day ka Ball. Incidents like this were reported from across the Raj. Once the language issues were sorted out and the truth about Love Day the term came to light, people started cogitating on a solution for Love Day (the nomenclature of the ‘tradition’, not the anatomical part).
At the same time on the other end(s) of the world, the diaspora indians also were perplexed by Love Day wondering why somebody would celebrate their privates. A pubic holiday if you will. They were more so horrified when the firangs around them asked them to do the Love Day. ??
So all across the world there was a major confusion. Hallmark realised that the suckers in the Third World would not easily take to it. Luckily for them Times of India had started publication (or should i say pubication?) by that time, and TOI was roped in to repair the damage. Many alternate names were rejected. Those that did not make it included St. Nimmajjiloafer Day and Loose Emotion Day.
At this point there occurred an incident that would change the face of Love Day forever. Al Capone (the world-famous tax evader) and his gang were involved in a shootout that came to be known across America as the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. The date was February 14th – Love Day. Since the name was getting famous already, Hallmark and company decided to rename Love Day as St. Valentines Day (and in ‘social interest’ to spread the message of love, not hate...copulation not killing....making out, not massacring).
And thus with the greeting card companies, florists, page 3 crowds, and other interested parties, love came o exist on that day. The other 364 days (365 on leap years) were not the days to show love, but only on Valentines Day (formerly known as Love Day). The rest of the year you would anyway e busy with Bullock Cart Day, Drink Beer Mixed With Sugar Day, Third Month Anniversary Day and other such. There you go.