H/T: The Moscow News (here).
Down with love? The Russian anti-Valentine backlash
The Russian Orthodox church has long been concerned about the growing popularity of Valentine’s Day, and in particular its promotion of “irresponsibility”. Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society, warned that romanticizing love outside of marriage could only “lead to trouble”, and backed the recent decision of authorities in Belgorod to ban official events for the holiday. “Unfortunately the spiritual basis of this holiday implies irresponsibility,” Chaplin told The Moscow News. “Love should be linked to family and faithfulness. This is why the Russian Orthodox Church supports the day of family love and faithfulness [on July 8].” And elsewhere in Russia church members are planning a “Valentine, farewell” event in protest at what they see as a debased commercial ritual which carries the name of a Christian saint but offers little of the true spirit of the martyred Valentine.
Many Moscow News readers sympathized with the anti-Valentine lobby, though for most it was a question of commercialism more than spiritualism. And some felt it was another blow to the preservation of Russia’s traditions in a more global world.
What about Ivan Kupala?
“It’s not a real holiday. If you’re in a relationship every day is the day for your love, so why make such a fuss? “It’s nothing more than a clever commercial strategy, and it doesn’t fit into Russian culture. We have our own traditional holidays, but so few people celebrate Ivan Kupala’s day, for example. “We keep forgetting where we came from and who we are.” Tatiana Sukhoparova
Leave it to the Americans
“I’ve never celebrated it as it’s not a real holiday in Russia. It’s America, so I don’t think of it as my own. Let Americans celebrate it, not us!” Anna Bogoslovskaya
“It is an insult to my intelligence, just another big marketing tool designed by people who want us to spend more money. “There is nothing to it besides money, and it is not because I am bitter about love – I am happily married and both my husband and I detest Feb. 14.” Victoria Nazarenko
What’s the point?
“I don’t think this is a proper holiday and I don’t understand what it’s all about. What is it really for, anyway?” Dmitry Chaykovsky
“It’s popular, but I don’t really like it. It’s unpleasant when you have to meet someone’s expectations and be obliged to do something. “Then there is all the marketing and bustle around it, and crowds of people everywhere. “It was interesting when we were at school, but not now.” Igor Samoilov
“Among my friends we call it Day of Sex for Chocolate. It’s a cheesy holiday.” Alexei Seleznyov
“I don’t like it. Not in Russia, not anywhere else. On its eve it always feels like you have to give a report to someone – on what you achieved and how does your life go. Like some English newspaper wrote, you can’t even be upset or angry on the day, because if you’re single, everyone will pity you for being miserable, and if you date someone, everyone will think you had a fight. Silly holiday when you are not allowed to have free will or emotions.” Natalia Sokolova