Many African cities are wearing red and white this February 14 as Lomé, the Togolese capital that celebrates this Wednesday Valentine’s Day. If this famous festival is rooted in the Togolese culture for several years, it is however partially or totally prohibited in several other countries for reasons “cultural or religious”.
In countries of Muslim obedience, Valentine’s Day is perceived as contrary to moral values, a celebration of immorality, nudity, indecency.
And in others, it is forbidden to wear red on “Love Day”, to buy and sell chocolates and roses. The media is not even allowed to advertise it. This holiday is considered the symbol of Western decadence.
Here are the countries where Valentine’s Day is forbidden….
In Pakistan, for example, a decision by the 2017 Islamabad High Court bans the public festivities of Valentine’s Day. A decision recalled in early February by the Pakistani authority for media regulation, which enjoins not to advertise. In this Muslim country, which remains very conservative, Valentine’s Day is seen as a celebration of “immorality, nudity and indecency”.
If there are several stories to explain the origin of this celebration, Valentine’s Day remains strongly marked by the Catholic tradition.
In Saudi Arabia, where public interactions between men and women are frowned upon, it has been forbidden for several years to wear red on Valentine’s Day, as well as to sell and buy related products. with the party: chocolates, teddy bears, roses … Last year, several stores were nevertheless able to sell without being worried.
Even the sound of bells in Iran where if the businesses are asked to prevent the holding of the party, that does not prevent the Iranians to celebrate it discreetly, specified a journalist to France 24 in 2015.
In Indonesia, Muslim authorities banned Valentine’s Day in 2012, arguing that it is contrary to the values and teachings of Islam. In several provinces, including Aceh, where sharia applies, several schools were ordered last year to ban their students from celebrating Valentine’s Day.
In places, the police even raided shops to ban the sale of contraceptives to teenagers. Nevertheless, Indonesia is a secular country and a large majority of inhabitants practice a moderate Islam that does not follow these prohibitions.
In Malaysia, the situation is little better for Cupid, accused among other things to promote the love out of wedlock. In 2005, a fatwa marked the beginning of a merciless fight against Valentine’s Day, leading to raids by the vice police in hotels to arrest unmarried Muslim couples. In 2011, nearly 100 people were arrested on 14 February. This does not prevent Malaysians who are not concerned by this religious ban from celebrating it.
These prohibitions are not, however, the preserve of a conservative Islam. A few years ago, the authorities of the Russian city of Belgorod prevented by decree from celebrating Valentine’s Day, which was “against Russian cultural traditions” – just like Halloween. The holiday had been replaced by the day of “Orthodox youth”.
A British elementary school also confiscated all of his students’ Valentine’s Day cards, claiming that they were not emotionally mature enough to handle such subjects. In the United States, several schools have chosen to stop the tradition of cards and gifts, this time to include at best all their students and not to “impose” them “dominant” party.