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Chocolate, roses, hearts, candy, candlelight, romance…all of these are the contemporary symbols of a day devoted to celebrating love. Although they seem surprisingly modern today, our Valentine’s Day rituals are actually rooted in a verse from the 14th century. In 1382 Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in Parlement of Foules,“For this was on seynt Volantynys day/ Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.” Chaucer’s couplet is the first recorded mention of Valentine’s Day. Rendered into contemporary English, his verse says, “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day/ When every bird comes to choose his mate.” Valentine’s Day is often celebrated as the day for singles to find their life partner, but it’s also a day to celebrate the foundation of all enduring relationships, love.

For those who have found their mates and settled happily into the nest of family life, there are several exciting Valentine’s Day events this February. At the India Community Center in Milpitas, Star Entertainment is hosting a “Valentine Bash 2014” on February 14th. In its 15th year, the Valentine Bash consistently sells out. Peter Sahjani, event organizer for Star Entertainment, asks, “Why drop $100 plus for a fancy dinner where there’s no dancing, no entertainment, no pictures, and your waiter will barely smile at you?” Emceed by Vishal Kapoor, this event promises lively entertainment from singers Vikas Singh, Raj Sohal, Ria Nilawar, and Sangeetika Advani. Natica will perform Belly Dance and Elena Elsoukov will perform Bollywood. Dinner, dancing, raffle prizes, and an audience dance competition will round out the evening. Sahjani promises fun for the entire family, “Bring your spouse and family to enjoy the entire evening!” Next door to the Valentine Bash at ICC, Radio Zindagi is hosting a “Karaoke Masti” event, allowing pre-registered singers to perform their romantic songs. Wine, dinner, and guest prizes will accompany the singing.

If you’re in the East Bay, this year it’s even easier to celebrate Valentine’s Day with loved ones. YoursTruly! is throwing “Valentine’s Day Bash 2014,” an evening Valentine’s Day party at Dougherty Station in San Ramon. A four-course meal, candy buffet, raffle drawing, and best dressed couple contest will be joined by musical entertainment by YoursTruly!. “Most Valentine’s Day parties are not kid or family-friendly, but this is a G-rated, family-themed event” says Narendra Lakshminarasimha, Event Organizer for YoursTruly!. Lakshminarasimha is organizing this first annual event to “make Valentine’s Day more accessible to our community in San Ramon.”

“They say in the old tales that when a man and a woman exchange looks the way we did, their spirits mingle. Their gaze is a rope of gold binding each to the other,” writes Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni in Sister of My Heart. Centuries and continents separate Chaucer and Divakaruni, who spent years writing in the Bay Area. Yet they speak of the same thing; the enduring bond created between two people by love. Take the opportunity to celebrate your relationship this Valentine’s Day in the Bay Area with fun, entertainment, and those that you love.

Valentine Bash 2014
February 14, 7 pm
India Community Center, 525 Los Coches St., Milpitas. Tickets begin at $35,, (408)-934-1130

Karaoke Masti-Valentine’s Day Special
February 14, 8 p.m.
India Community Center, 525 Los Coches St., Milpitas. Tickets $15, (408)-674-2157

Valentine’s Day Bash 2014
February 14, 7:30 p.m.
Ridge View Room, 17011 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon. Tickets begin at $40.,, (925)-236-0243

Guftagu-A Mehfil of Ghazals and Romantic Songs.
February 15, 6:30 p.m.
Mehran Restaurant and Catering, 5774 Mowry School Road, Newark. Tickets  $35.
(510) 798-5440, (510) 862-7631.