The kingdom of Saudi Arabia prepares for Valentine’s Day tomorrow following decades of marking the day as forbidden. The preparations which included the selling and buying of gifts, flowers and chocolate in shops.
A few years ago, strict laws deemed buying of gifts and present. The once-feared religious police used to ensure the laws forbidding the celebration strongly enforced. However; the police got stripped of their arresting power and later on disbanded.
Store owners used to hide red roses and chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Restaurants owners also banned birthdays and anniversary’s celebrations of February 14th.
The breakthrough came in 2018 when the former Makkah CPVPV president Sheikh declared that Valentine’s Day did not contradict Islamic teaching. He said that love is a universal activity and not limited to non-Muslims only.
The legalization of Valentine’s Day comes to the recent liberalization of traditional social conventions within the kingdom.
To help the readers get the most out of valentines, Arab news magazines, compiled an essential guide ‘we have advice on romantic getaways.’
‘His and her’ gift guide for every purse and information on the ‘best places for a romantic meal of two.’
Shortly before February 14th flush of red would start to fade in all the stores. The countries religious police would head out to hunt and confiscate roses, teddy bears and any signs of heart. However, ordinary Saudis scouted the law and found ways of pleasing their loved ones.
Religious police called Valentine’s Day, a Christian celebration true Muslims should shun. The attitude towards Valentine’s Day, in line with the strict Islam school followed in the kingdom.
It is a challenge for unmarried couples be together on Valentine’s Day or any other day. Strict segregation of the sexes is not allowed to the citizens dating consisted of long phone calls. Men and women, could not go for a drive together, have a meal or talk on the street.
Valentines items descended to the black market, making the price triple or quadruple. A headline in Sunday’s paper in 2005 reported that female voices demanded the release of the red rose. They complained that no one had the right to ban flower sales.
In religious lessons at schools, teachers warn the students against celebrating the occasion. Educational supervisors teach that saint valentines was a Christian priest.
In 2019, Arabians marked the day with humour, although the message of love still prevailed. Their hashtags ‘valentine days and ‘are you with or against valentines day were trending on Twitter in Arabic.
One commentator said that love is always in the heart and does not need an allocated day; hence, learn how to love first then mark its day.