Valentine’s Day can be a divisive holiday. While some relish an opportunity to big up the special guys or gals in their life, others are put off by the commercial aspects of the day. If you’re not feeling it this February 14, why not join India in switching to “Cow Hug Day” instead?
In a love letter (read: governmental appeal) from the Animal Welfare Board of India, secretary Dr S J Dutta put forward a bid to bin Valentine’s in favor of Cow Hug Day. The suggestion comes in an effort to celebrate the country’s traditions, which they say are on the verge of extinction due to western culture creeping in.
“We all know that the cow is the backbone of Indian culture,” writes Dutta. “It is known as ‘Kamdhenu’ and ‘Gaumata’ because of its nourishing nature like mother, the giver of all providing riches to humanity.”
“In view of the immense benefit of the cow, hugging with [a] cow will bring emotional richness [and] hence will increase our individual and collective happiness. Therefore, all the cow lovers may also celebrate [...] February 14 as Cow Hug Day.”
If TikTok's anything to go by, it seems people elsewhere in the world are already on board.
Cows are considered sacred animals in Hinduism, the predominant religion in India, and have long held an important place in Indian culture. In some parts of rural India, cow dung is widely used as a fuel source for fires and a fertilizer.
Its role as medicine in parts of the country also came to light in 2021, when doctors warned against using it to treat COVID-19. It might sound odd to some, but cow dung has historically been used in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine that utilizes the natural properties of animal, mineral, and plant materials.
So, as givers of dairy, fuel, fertilizer, and possibly even medicine, it seems these generous bovines are deserving of a squeeze this Cow Hug Day. Now, if only we could find one…
[HJ/T: Smithsonian Mag]