Hotels are running full, priests and beauty parlours are booked and caterers are outsourcing services as more than 5,000 couples line up to get married on Valentine’s Day in the capital of India’s Hindi heartland. Priests said that’s a conservative estimate.
It's not just love that’s made the couples zero in on February 14. There’s a more traditional reason too. “The planetary combinations that day are just right for a wedding — the union will be stable and happy," said Ashok Kumar Mishra, a priest. “That’s why so many people are planning to get married on February 14.”
“The planets get into their most suitable positions at the stroke of midnight," he said. "Weddings solemnised at midnight or just after that would be most successful. We priests have our hands full.”
Another priest, Anurag Gaur, said: “I have been flooded with requests to solemnise weddings on February 14. I have accepted three and rejected nearly 15. There are favourable planetary combinations on other days, too, but the combination with Valentine’s Day is a hit with the youth.”
“Usually, we book three or four weddings,” said wedding organiser Jameel Shamsi. “But this year, the rush on February 14 is maddening. We are handling almost 30 weddings on February 14 and 16.”
Other allied services are in demand, too. For instance, many have asked organisers to arrange theme-based ceremonies, and florists have orders worth lakhs of rupees.
“Disc jockeys and bands are overbooked,” said Rahul Saxena of Ram Krishna Tent House. “I have called for DJs from adjacent cities.”