MANILA, PHILIPPINES—This year, love confronts introspection as Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent, fall on the same date. This rare convergence has Filipinos navigating the delicate balance between celebrating love and embracing spiritual reflection.
A recent Rappler poll reflects the diversity of perspectives. While 59% of respondents expressed their eagerness to shower their significant others with affection, a sizeable 34% opted for prioritizing faith through prayer and reflection. Interestingly, 16% saw this unique date as an opportunity to focus on a different kind of love: the pursuit of financial stability (“mag-abang ng suweldo”).
For many Filipinos, Valentine’s Day is ingrained in tradition. Restaurants brace for romantic soirées, flower shops anticipate a blooming business, and couples plan gestures of love.
However, the solemnity of Ash Wednesday, a day marked by fasting and abstinence, throws a curveball into the equation.
Couples now have to decide how to navigate this intersection. Some might opt for celebrations with a spiritual bent, perhaps attending church services together or volunteering at a charitable organization. Others may choose intimate gatherings that emphasize meaningful conversations and shared values, keeping the emphasis on love itself rather than extravagant displays.
There’s no one answer to this intersection of piety, romance, and self-reflection. It’s a unique opportunity to explore love’s connection to faith and self-improvement. Whether focusing on a partner or God, the potential for understanding and growth is there. Valentine’s Day is a popular time for expressing love, with busy restaurants and florists. However, the solemnity of Ash Wednesday brings a contemplative tone to the celebrations.