Six Countries That 'Banned' Valentine's Day - The Coverage
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Six Countries That ‘Banned’ Valentine’s Day

Six countries that you probably shouldn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in

Ah, it’s that time of year again. The day overprotective fathers stand at full attention over their daughters, and the day mothers worry that their sons end up alone during the celebration of love once again.

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Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine is a celebration observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it is not a public holiday in most of them.

Saint Valentine’s Day, or better known as just Valentine’s Day, is a celebration where lovers are encouraged to show their partners significantly more affection than the remaining 364 days of the year.

This celebration of love that falls on the 14th of February every year brings lovers closer and is welcomed by everyone.

Well, nearly everyone.

In countries like Pakistan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, celebrating Valentine’s Day with a romantic dinner over a glass of wine, flowers, or even a box of chocolates could result in severe punishment.

Here are six countries that just aren’t into the idea of Valentine’s Day :

1. Indonesia

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Image sourced from Getty Images

While many Indonesians celebrate Valentine’s Day, Indonesian government officials and Muslim clerics detest the very idea of the blissful celebration.

In recent years, there have been protests from hard-going Indonesian Muslims, saying that Valentine’s Day is un-Islamic and promotes casual pre-marital sex and the drinking of alcohol, which is generally prohibited by Islam laws.

Indonesia has the world’s largest population of Muslims, but is a secular nation, meaning that the government neither supports nor disagrees with religion.

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2. Malaysia

Image sourced from EPA

Image sourced from EPA

In 2014, the Islamic morality police (JAIS) arrested 80 Muslim couples for celebrating Valentine’s Day.

A few key figures in the religious governing sectors of Malaysia firmly believe that the paramour-filled day encourages immoral activities among Muslim netizens, of which makes up 61% of the Malaysian population.

Officers raided budget hotels in the central state of Selangor and capital, Kuala Lumpur, detaining unmarried Muslim couples who shared rooms.

The anti-Valentine’s Day campaign by Malaysia’s Islamic authorities goes back to a fatwa (religious ruling) issued in 2005.

However, despite the ‘Valentine’s Day Raids’, many Malaysians still celebrate the day and other faiths are not affected in any way by the Valentine’s Day rule in the country.

Additionally, not all Malaysian Muslims agree with the campaign to prohibit the celebration of Valentine’s day, with a majority saying that the celebration of love is harmless.

3. Pakistan

Image sourced from Getty Images

Image sourced from Getty Images

In 2014, universities in Peshawar, Pakistan clashed with each other’s beliefs over whether or not Valentine’s Day was wrong in the eyes of Islam.

Liberal students celebrated with red balloons and cake while another group of students from another university who felt that Valentine’s day was un-Islamic, rioted and opposed the very notion of the celebration.

Dozens of students exchanged blows and threw rocks at one another in the scuffle, which quickly escalated to gunshots being fired by both sides, leaving three students injured and a dormitory set ablaze.

Stones were even thrown at police officers that came to disperse the riot or sorts.

4. Iran

Image sourced from iafrica.com

Image sourced from iafrica.com

While giving chocolates and flowers to your better half on the 14th of February to profess your love is normal in almost all parts of the world, Iranian authorities have sought to crack down on celebrations in the past, calling Valentine’s day a “decedent Western custom”.

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Despite this, restaurants in Tehran are reported to have been fully booked every Valentine’s Day and many shops could be seen selling teddy bears and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate.

This was in spite of the government’s threat to prosecute business owners if they sold Valentine’s Day Gifts.

According to the Economist, shops simply used lookouts to warn them if inspectors were coming around to inspect their stores on a Valentine’s Day patrol.

5. Saudi Arabia

Image sourced from Getty Images

Image sourced from Getty Images

In Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s religious authorities ban the celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Women and men sit separately in restaurants and public displays of affection are taboo in the largely Muslim-populated country.

One shop owner told BBC that Valentine’s Day orders are placed over the telephone discreetly to avoid getting caught, and flowers are hidden at the back of stores from the authorities.

In 2014, five Saudi citizens were almost sentenced to 39 years behind bars, as well as 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.

The harsh sentence was later upheld.

Alcohol and red roses were also seized from the scene.

6. India

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Back in 2014, number of political parties in India have criticised Valentine’s day, arguing that it promotes Western values and is unwelcome in India.

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Considering the fact that India used to be a part of the British empire until it declared independence on the 15th of August 1947, it’s pretty clear why the government doesn’t welcome the advocacy of Western values nor culture.

On 2015 however, the Indian Hindu nationalist party Mahasabha said that they would now encourage couples spotted out together on Valentine’s Day to get married, and would have a religious leader on standby to perform marriages.

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 the couples claim that they need time to think about marriage, we will tell them that if they are not certain, they should not belittle love by openly going around together. We will also inform their parents.”

Other groups however, continued to firmly believe that celebrating romance would encourage teenage pregnancy- and pushed citizens of India to ditch the idea and notion of romance between male and females, and suggested to replace Valentine’s Day with a more according celebration- a ‘Parent’s Worship Day’ that honors the love between parents and children.

The idea began on the website of one of India’s prominent religious leaders, Asaram Bapu, who had thousands of followers.

However, he garnered infamy and lost a large majority of his loyal followers after he was charged with the sexual assault of a child in 2014.

The religious leader also hit headlines in 2012, after saying that the victim of the notorious Delhi gang rape incident could have escaped if she had called her attackers “brothers”.

What do you think about these anti-Valentine’s Day laws? Let us know!

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