It’s almost impossible to avoid being swept up in the massive wave of love and affection right now. While for most of the year we are too focused on daily routines to express our love to the special people in our lives, there is no avoiding the heart-felt issue this Tuesday.
Restaurants, hotels and shops in Jakarta and other major cities are tempting consumers with special offers for Valentine’s Day. It’s clear that the focus on all things lovey-dovey for Valentine’s – once viewed as a thoroughly “western” celebration – is much more extensive here than even 10 years ago.
What’s behind this love fest?
Psychologist Kasandra Putranto attributes it to today’s young generation being more open in expressing their feelings compared to the older generation, allowing the media and social media to successfully romanticize Valentine’s as a must-do celebration.
“The media for expressing love has become cheaper and affordable for everyone. This condition helps in spreading the ‘love virus’ everywhere,” she said.
There is a widespread perception that Valentine’s is the socially accepted day to say “I love you” in myriad ways.
“With the whole world exuding the ‘love-is-in-the-air’ spirit, psychologically it will influence the mind set that it is the right moment, everybody is doing it, so why can’t we.”
Fransiska Kansil, the director of communications for Hotel Borobudur Jakarta, agreed that increasing openness was fueling growth in celebrating Valentine’s, a trend she has noticed both among newlyweds and married couples, including with their families, in the past four years.
“Nowadays people are more open with their feelings. They no longer feel embarrassed to express their love,” she said.
Love is truly a many splendored thing when it comes to Valentine’s promotions. Hotel Borobudur Jakarta is holding romantic dining experiences in all of its restaurants: Bogor Café, Bruschetta Italian Restaurant, Pendopo Lounge and Miyama Japanese Restaurant.
The Dharmawangsa Jakarta has a special room offer for couples throughout the month of February, including American breakfast for two, an arrangement of red roses and welcome amenities, while the hotel’s restaurants, Sriwijaya and Jakarta, offer loving spoonfuls with dining promotions for the special day.
Sweet serenades will flow at Cascade Lounge of Hotel Mulia Senayan as Indonesian duo Anang and Ashanty perform live. Couples can choose from a soul-satisfying set dinner or casual yet intimate buffet at each of its five restaurants.
Music lovers can also enjoy classic violin pieces as a soothing accompaniment to their dinner at Pullman Jakarta Central Park. A Valentine Mocktail will also be served. Hotel Gran Mahakam offers its Romantic Dinner Buffet at Le Gran Café, also including a glass of champagne for each of the diners, a rose and a photograph to remember the evening.
Sweethearts can sip on Valentine Valentinis, a delicious chocolate martini with a hint of rose, at Hotel Grand Hyatt Jakarta. The hotel also provides Romantic High Tea for two at Fountain Lounge, with lovebirds able to enjoy the stunning view of the city.
And just in time for Valentine’s Day, Hotel Millennium Sirih Jakarta will unveil refurbishment to give guests a warm and cozy stay with improved services and amenities.
Heart to Heart
The meaning of Valentine’s and how we mark it may change over time. Septika remembers wearing matching T-shirts, sharing heart-shaped chocolates and going out for dinner with her then boyfriend.
“Now that we’re married, we no longer hold the big celebrations. We only say Happy Valentine’s to each other. Now we focus our celebration on our wedding anniversary,” said the private company employee, 33.
But the general definition of Valentine’s Day has also broadened to include not only spouses and lovers, but also other meaningful people in our lives.
Wedding photographer Tyta NF uses Feb. 14 as the time to have a heart-to-heart talk with her friends. They rent a karaoke room, exchange gifts and express their feelings to each other.
“We usually have a chat. And then we sing together. The more, the merrier. Valentine’s Day is not always about love and couples,” she said.
For Ayu, 27, love and affection should be an everyday occurrence.
“My husband has never brought me flowers, although I asked several times. But for me, he shows his romantic side by being there for me when I need him. For example, he canceled his flight when I was ill. He also went to a classical music concert with me, even though he didn’t like it.”
Actress Maudy Koesnaedi prefers a low-key celebration with her husband. They usually simply exchange cards, but in the last couple of years they vacationed in Barcelona and also her husband’s homeland of the Netherlands.
“The celebration remains important because it’s the day to express feelings to each other without having to throw a grand celebration.”
Kasandra also agrees that married couples should use the date to evaluate the state of their relationship, as “introspection on the relationship to make it healthy and exciting”.
Again, Valentine’s Day is not only about young couples anymore, but about everybody – young, old and in-between – to reach out to the ones they care about.
Fransiska recalls a couple who marked their 50th wedding anniversary at one of the Hotel Borobudur’s restaurants. She says their example reaffirms the true meaning of the day.
“Valentine’s Day is a reminder for people to celebrate their love,” she said.