Love in a warm climate: the Middle East rolls out the romance for Valentine’s
A region of political conundrums and violent conflicts isn’t the obvious choice of venue for the day of romance, St. Valentine’s. But the Middle East is not without its would-be Romeos - and Juliets - leaving Arabs to celebrate the occasion in their own way.
For some countries, the Western style of dinner and handholding is just not for them but that doesn’t mean that the romantics of the region won’t be stocking up on flowers and chocolates for their special someone. Even the notorious Saudi religious police are going easy on the Kingdom’s lovers this year, promising to leave florists alone to get in their red roses.
In the UAE, couples seemed to determined to prove the “money can’t buy you love” saying wrong. Dubai lovers are looking to shell out as much cash as possible for a bling-filled day. While in Lebanon, traditional party hotspot of the Middle East, residents will be striking a more sombre tone, marching through the capital to commemorate the death of a prime minister, rather than heading to the clubs.
Determined to do it their own way, Egyptians will be celebrating the day on November 4, rather than February 14 while Israelis have changed the name entirely to avoid any potential Christian references. And despite the raging civil war, Syrians are still keen to keep the romance up, hosting weddings amidst the rubble and getting loved ones to send in chocolates from abroad.
So while it may not be a traditional Valentine’s spread, the Middle East will be laying on the schmultz just as thick as anywhere else this February. Continue reading below »
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