India to celebrate “Cow Hug Day” instead of Valentine’s Day

young indian farmer plowing at field

In India, cows are highly regarded, especially among Hindu communities where they are considered sacred and worshipped as a symbol of wealth, strength, and maternal love. For this year’s Valentine’s Day, the Animal Welfare Board of India asked citizens to hug a cow instead of a celebration of romance, in an effort to promote Hindu values.

The Indian authorities said Wednesday that “hugging cows will bring emotional richness and increase individual and collective happiness. Therefore, all the cow lovers may also celebrate February 14 as Cow Hug day keeping in mind the importance of mother cow and making life happy and full of positive energy,” the statement added.

In Hindu tradition, the cow is considered sacred and is worshipped as a divine mother figure who provides nourishment and selfless love to all. Hindu religion makes-up for 80% of Indian citizens, Muslim for 14%, while Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains account for most of the remaining 6%. It is believed that taking care of a cow and offering it food and other necessities will bring blessings and good karma, that is why, many Hindu families keep a cow as a pet and consider it a member of their family.

Cow slaughter is prohibited in the majority of Indian states, and the sale and consumption of beef are outlawed in many other places, including Delhi, the nation’s capital. However, cows are also at the center of political and social controversies in India. In recent years, there has been a rise in cow vigilante groups who take the protection of cows into their own hands, leading to incidents of violence against people who are accused of harming cows. As per reports at least 45 people were killed by Hindu cow vigilante groups in the country between 2012 and 2018.