Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year where we are encouraged to up the ante and to tell our loved ones how we feel through beautiful flowers and gifts – something which, of course, shouldn’t be restricted to just February 14th.
A holiday that has been around since the middle ages, Valentine’s Day – also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine – is largely a Western Christian holiday. With a history that stems all the way to the Ancient Romans, this holiday was very different to what we know and love today.
Although Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday, February 14 is considered a significant cultural and religious celebration of romance in the Catholic Church. On the other hand, a number of Eastern countries choose not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, even in a commercial way.
With differing religious beliefs, these 7 countries have banned Valentine’s Day.
With 61% of the Malaysian population being practicing Muslims, the concept of Valentine’s Day goes against Islamic Law. Since 2005, the Islamic authorities created the religious ruling of fatwa, banning the celebrating of Valentine’s day.
In 2011, the Islamic morality police (JAIS) arrested 80 Muslim couples for celebrating the holiday. Officers raided numerous hotels in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, starting an anti-Valentine’s Day campaign and raids.
While Valentine’s Day is celebrated by many Indonesians, religious officials and clerics aim to ban the holiday. There have been numerous protests in recent years, stating that Valentine’s Day promotes casual pre-marital sex and the consumption of alcohol, both of which are strictly against Islamic Law.
Despite this, Valentine’s is actually popular in Jakarta, with companies looking to cash in on the celebrations.
Via Daily Mail
In recent years, Iranian authorities have aimed to forbid Valentine’s celebrations, calling the holiday a “decadent Western custom” and threatening shops and restaurants with prosecution if they sell Valentine’s Day gifts.
Despite this, numerous restaurants in Tehran have reported been fully booked and many shops have been seen selling teddy bears and chocolates. Due to the fact that they are defying the law, establishments use lookouts to see if inspectors are on a Valentine’s Day patrol.
Via Foreign Desk News
Due to its independent revolution from the British empire in 1947, the Indian government refused to advocate Western values and culture.
In 2015, party leader Chandra Prakash Kaushik told The Times of India “We are not against love, but if a couple is in love then they must get married … if they are not certain, they should not belittle love by openly going around together.”
Via Times of India
This country has been subject to numerous riots surrounding the celebration of Valentine’s Day. In 2014, two universities in Peshawar and Pakistan clashed with each other’s beliefs over the ideology of Valentine’s Day in the eyes of Islamic Law.
Students threw rocks at one another, which eventually lead to gunshots being fired from both sides, injuring three students.
On February 7th 2018, the Islamabad High Court placed a ban on Valentine’s Day, claiming the day to be a cultural import from the West and “against the teachings of Islam”.
In Saudi Arabia, it is taboo to show public displays of affection so the concept of Valentine’s Day doesn’t coincide with the ideologies of this country.
Celebrating this holiday could lead to severe punishment. In 2014, five Saudi citizens were sentenced to 39 years behind bars and 4,500 lashes of the cane between them, after they were found dancing with six women they were not married to on Valentine’s Day.
While you can purchase love-themed gifts on any other day, red roses and other love-related items are strictly banned on Valentine’s Day, including red clothing.
Via Al Arabiya
Technically, Russia does celebrate a type of Valentine’s Day, but it is very different from the traditional holiday. On March 8, Russians celebrate International Women’s Day in much the same way that Western cultures celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Gifting each other flowers and chocolate is very common on this day, as is expecting husbands and boyfriends to do all the cooking and cleaning, letting women have a full day of rest.
Instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day because of a saint, Russia chooses to celebrate the love for their women, paying tribute to women across the globe and equal rights.
Via The New York Times
Written by Ellen Kirkness