Thousands of youth in Denpasar flooded souvenir and flower shops to buy Valentine’s Day gifts on Monday, causing traffic congestion on main thoroughfares all over the capital city.
A number of communities also joined in the celebration by showing affection in their own way.
The local transgender community offered free haircuts for the public at Bali Museum. At least 50 men and women had their hair cut by dozens of community members working at beauty salons.
“I rarely have my hair cut. [This community] is good at cutting hair,” said a middle-aged man, Wayan Ari.
The event was organized by GAYa Dewata, a local foundation working for the empowerment of the gay and transgender communities. It was designed to build closer rapport between the gay and transgender communities in society.
These groups have often been marred by stigma, prejudices and misconceptions. “Through this event and similar events planned for the future we are trying to project an image of gay and transgender communities as creative and productive groups of people who deserve respect and appreciation from the general public,” GAYa Dewata director Christian Supriyadinata said.
Students from Udayana University’s School of Medicine carried out a mass blood donation at the campus. The event was held as a symbol of affection for others, and to aid Bali Red Cross, which was without blood stock.
In Seminyak, Kuta, Balinese punk-rock band Superman Is Dead and a bunch of their fans expressed their concern for the environment. In the event titled “Love at the Beach”, they picked up litter around Batubelig Beach.
Several groups of girls and boys also hit the city’s main streets to give flowers and chocolate to motorists, including on Jl. Gatot Subroto, Jl. Diponegoro and Jl. Nangka. In the evening, people flocked to food hubs with their sweethearts, spouses or families. In other large Indonesian cities, the celebration of Valentine’s Day on Monday was marked by mixed responses.
In Bandung, West Java, for example, the day of love was enthusiastically celebrated by local people and one of the celebrations was in the form of a wedding ceremony for 18 couples in the low-income bracket. In Maros, South Sulawesi, dozens of students of the local education foundation staged a rally against the celebration.
“Valentine’s Day only encourages indecent acts under the mask of affection,” said Ince Nasrullah, coordinator of the rally, as quoted by tempointeraktif.com.
Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) branches in North Sumatra, West Java and West Nusa Tenggara issued an edict, saying Valentine’s Day was haram (forbidden for Muslims). The MUI branch in Yogyakarta, however, said that it was not haram.
“The haram label will be given only if the celebration is marked by indecent acts,” Yogyakarta MUI secretary Ahmad Muhsin Kamaludiningrat said on Saturday as quoted by vivanews.com.