Valentine's Day is observed all around the world on the 14th of February to celebrate love and affection. It originated as a feast day to honor the Roman martyr named Saint Valentine. This day was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496 to be celebrated on February 14 in honor of Saint Valentine of Rome, who died on that date in AD 269.
Couples in the U.S.A, as well as all around the world, send greeting cards, gifts, flowers, and go out on dates with each other on this day. However, as shocking as it may sound to you, this day is not easy for all couples to celebrate it around the world. Many go through various problems in different parts of the world to celebrate this day. Let us look at the difficulties faced by couples in different parts of the world when it comes to celebrating this day.
There have been a lot of instances in Saudi Arabia where the religious police prevented people from celebrating Valentine's Day and banned the sale of all Valentine's Day items. They ordered all store owners to remove all flowers, greeting cards, and heart-shaped toys from their store. The religious police in Saudi Arabia, also known as the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, enforced this ban because they believed that celebrating Valentine's Day was against their religion. In 2012, the religious police arrested more than 140 Saudi citizens for celebrating this day and confiscated all red roses from various flower shops.
However, in 2018, couples in Saudi Arabia heard some good news. Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi, a Saudi cleric and former president of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, declared that Valentine's Day is not forbidden in Islam and is compatible with Islamic values. After this declaration was made by him, the religious police did not bother couples anymore and stopped preventing people from celebrating this day.
In India, Valentine's Day is celebrated by a lot of couples by dressing in fine clothing, giving gifts to each other, and spending time together. Some hotels and restaurants often get fully booked due to too many couples booking reservations since the start of February.
However, it is not always easy for couples in India to celebrate this day. The conservatives of India do not approve of this day, as they believe that this day is cultural contamination from the west. Both Hindu and Islamic traditionalists of India don't want this day to be celebrated as they frown upon public displays of affection. Some Indian conservatives say that they are not against love, but only against the exhibition of love in public places.
Another important thing to be noted is that the people who oppose Valentine's Day in India are not from the young generation. It's usually old-aged conservative people with conservative backgrounds that do not like the idea of celebrating Valentine's Day. People from the young generation usually celebrate Valentine's Day. Despite all the obstacles, Valentine's Day is becoming increasingly popular in India.
Sepandārmazgān, or Espandegān, is an ancient Iranian festival with Zoroastrian roots dating back to the first Persian Empire, the Achaemenid Empire. This festival was widely known as the Persian day of love. Efforts have been made to revive this ancient festival in Iran, but were unsuccessful, due to pressure from the conservatives.
Even though Valentine's Day has been becoming increasingly popular in Iran, especially among young people, it has faced a lot of challenges from Iranian conservatives, who view this day as the spread of "decadent" Western culture. Even though conservative authorities have tried a lot to discourage people from celebrating this day by banning Iranian shops from selling Valentine's Day gifts, people continue to celebrate this day in Iran.
Pakistan is the most recent country to ban Valentine's Day celebrations in public. On February 7th, 2018, the Islamabad High Court placed a ban on Valentine’s Day, claiming that the day was “against the teachings of Islam”. According to the conservatives of Pakistan, this day promotes extramarital relationships and indecency, which go against Islamic teachings. Even though the religious conservatives enforced a lot of bans on this day, the young people of Pakistan still choose to celebrate it to express their love to their significant others.
In 2011, Malaysian authorities arrested more than 100 couples for celebrating Valentine's Day. Muhyiddin Yassin, who served as the eighth prime minister of Malaysia, said that said the celebration of romantic love was "not suitable" and against the religion of the majority of the people in Malaysia. However, the celebration is tolerated more in East Malaysia while West Malaysia is hostile towards it.
Even though Valentine's Day is observed around the world as a celebration of love, many conservatives put a religious aspect to it. Even though the young people want to celebrate it without involving religion in it, the old-generation conservatives feel that it goes against their religion, which is why they enforce bans on this day.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Ricky