Saudi Arabia prepares for Valentine’s Day

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Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 13 February 2020

Saudi Arabia prepares for Valentine’s Day

  • Hearts and flowers are everywhere as the Kingdom prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow
  • Saudis are buying extravagant gifts, flowers, cheesy balloons and even the cliched teddy bears for that special person

JEDDAH: Love is in the air and hearts and flowers are everywhere as the Kingdom prepares to celebrate the once “haram” Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

As recently as three years ago it would have been unthinkable — Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police saw to that.

Florists and confectioners used to hide their red roses and heart-shaped chocolate in fear of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV). Restaurant owners even banned birthday or anniversary celebrations on Feb. 14 for fear of arrest or closure.




Hearts and flowers are everywhere as Saudi Arabia prepares to celebrate the once ‘haram’ Valentine’s Day tomorrow. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

A breakthrough came in 2018, when former Makkah CPVPV President Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi declared that Valentine’s Day did not contradict Islamic teaching or doctrine. Celebrating love was universal,and not limited to non-Muslims, he said.

Now Saudis are buying extravagant gifts, flowers, cheesy balloons and even the cliched teddy bears for that special person.

To help readers to get the most out of Valentine’s, Arab News has compiled an essential guide. We have advice on romantic getaways, whether you’re on a budget, or ready to splash out on a rented yacht in the Red Sea or a cultural heritage hotel in a palm oasis in the Eastern Province.

There’s also a “his and her” gift guide for every purse, and info on the best places for that romantic meal for two.


Work begins on project to document all aspects of Saudi art and culture across the Kingdom

Updated 26 February 2020

Work begins on project to document all aspects of Saudi art and culture across the Kingdom

  • The project is believed to be the first of its kind in the Kingdom in terms of exhaustiveness and diversity

RIYADH: Work has started on an ambitious initiative to document all aspects of Saudi culture across the Kingdom’s 13 regions. With its “13/16” project, the Ministry of Culture aims to highlight the nation’s cultural diversity and rich heritage by constructing a record of all forms of local art and culture.

The project, which includes the establishment of a visual library of cultural activity recorded in photographs and videos, is believed to be the first of its kind in the Kingdom in terms of exhaustiveness and diversity.

Teams of researchers familiar with 16 identified aspects of Saudi culture will visit all 13 regions — hence the name of the project — to photograph and film artists and creators and their work. The art forms and cultural activities in each distinct society that will be documented include theater, music, film, performing arts, literature, visual arts, architectural design, heritage and language.

The ministry has drawn up a year-long research plan covering all Saudi regions. It will begin in Riyadh region and end in the Eastern Province, passing through Jizan, Makkah, Al-Jawf, the Northern Borders, Qassim, Hail, Asir, Al-Baha, Najran and Madinah along the way.