St. Valentine’s Day is a Roman Catholic-derived holiday which captures the imagination of some Jakartans. This year Gangsta Rasta and friends put on a free reggae concert in the park. Meanwhile, Maulid Nabi refers to the birthday of the prophet Muhamad. Its observance in many Islamic countries is at matter of custom and often involves lights, processions and poetry. Both celebrations, on the 2011 calendar, got bunched up in the same three-day weekend last year. Would there be a collision?
Red-pink-and-white ads and merchandise are everywhere this time of year in Jakarta. Most of the hype is directed at adults, including the Westernized and expats. But even a child could figure out that Valentine’s Day is for lovers.
The subtler shades coloring this lovely holiday — like who was Cupid and did he have a crush on Plato — may require explaining for those who aren’t up on their Greek and Roman history. It’s true — you know — there are many ways to say love in Indonesian. And even romantis isn’t used the word you’d think. One common V-day localization is “Hari Kasih Sayang” which is “Care Day” and fails to provide any clue as to just how sexy the holiday is (oops — I mean, can be cuz that all depends on if you’re married or not ; )