Saudi Arabia celebrates Valentine’s Day without hiccups

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Time: February 14, 2019  

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Valentine’s Day is lucrative for businesses, especially flower shops, restaurants, cafes, cosmetic clinics and beauty salons. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
  • Love is in the air … Valentine’s Day in the new Kingdom
  • Celebrating love is not limited to non-Muslims: Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi

JEDDAH: Red roses are no longer hidden in flower shop backrooms, and heart-shaped chocolates are no longer sold under the counter on Valentine’s Day, due to curbs placed in 2016 by the Saudi religious police.

In 2018, a Saudi religious figure endorsed Valentine’s Day celebrations for the first time in the Kingdom.

Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi, former president of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Makkah, announced on TV that celebrating Valentine’s Day does not contradict Islamic teachings, and that celebrating love is not limited to non-Muslims.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated worldwide, much like Mother’s Day, as “a positive aspect of the human being,” he said.

As a result, Valentine’s Day is becoming very lucrative for businesses, especially flower shops, restaurants, cafes, cosmetic clinics and beauty salons.

Chocolate and gourmet food brands, such as Godiva, have prepared Valentine’s Day products.

Abdulaziz Al-Noman, a high-end local chocolatier, is cooperating with the Rubaiyat retailer and Fitaihi Jewelry to offer customers free chocolate boxes and flowers.

Fitaihi, a well-known Saudi brand, is offering discounts on love bracelets and pendants for what they have dubbed “a very special occasion.”

Nadine Attar, a jewelry designer and the face of Nadine Jewellery, has dedicated a special line, “A Journey of Love,” for Valentine’s Day.

The limited collection quotes verses from the Qur’an and famous Arab poets such as Khalil Gibran and Al-Mutanabi.

“I decided to use colors and symbols of love, hence the heart-shaped ruby stone, which is traditionally paired with white and yellow gold, but I chose rose gold instead as rose and red colors created a modern combination, and they go very well together in symbolizing the occasion,” Attar told Arab News. The collection will be discontinued once its items run out.

Attar is also targeting men, having produced red aluminum cuff links and aluminum cuff bracelets tipped in red. She said she intends for her pieces to become heirlooms.

Lingerie brand Nayomi has launched a campaign called #CelebrateRomanceWithNayomi, with discounts of up to 25 percent on its romance collection, and free shipping on all orders until Feb. 14.

Fitness centers such as ReFit Gym are offering discounts on new memberships, and supermarkets such as Manuel and Al-Tamimi have special sales on products such as chocolates, teddy bears and red roses.

The Foursquare City Guide has listed 15 romantic spots in Jeddah for a Valentine’s dinner. The list includes French restaurant Le Traiteur, Zodiac Lounge in Al-Andalus, Italian restaurant Il Gabbiano on the Corniche, and Japanese restaurant Nozomi in Al-Rawdah.

This article was first published in Arab News

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