For the first time ever, Christians from across the globe, living in Saudi Arabia, are finally able to celebrate the birth of Christ in public as the kingdom has lifted the ban on Christmas items.
"But in a sign of the changing times, the Riyadh shop manager, Omar, who declined to provide his surname, said his store sold not just Christmas items but also outfits for Halloween!"— عبدالله Abdullah (@Indyproser) December 20, 2020
"Rare Christmas sales in Saudi Arabia." — AFP ' Riyadh. https://t.co/u3d2E40xfV
Saudi gift shops were allowed not to only sell Christmas trees, but also Santa costumes, tinsel, baubles and other ornaments. Moreover, shops had also sold Halloween items back in November.
People have hailed Saudi Arabia’s decision as a sign of loosening social restrictions, which has come after the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman vowed to turn the country into a more open place toward different religions and cultures.
"In recent years, festive sales have gradually crept into the capital Riyadh, a sign of loosening social restrictions after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged to steer the conservative Gulf kingdom towards an "open, moderate Islam". pic.twitter.com/ufB7aGP1Oh— عبدالله Abdullah (@Indyproser) December 20, 2020
In the true spirit of Christmas they are keeping human rights activists in prison.— Thomas K (@Ghidorah64) December 20, 2020
Last year, the Saudi government banned a Christmas event and warned to take serious measures against its organizers and prohibited the new year celebration.
السعودية تمنع حفل "كريسماس" وتعلن اتخاذ إجراءات ضد الجهة المنظمة https://t.co/KKaH9SFnWP— Emad Anan (@Emad_Anan) December 28, 2019
A Riyadh resident told AFP at the shop that contains Christmas decorations: "I have never imagined I'd see this in Saudi Arabia!”
Couple of years ago, non-Muslim celebrations were totally banned in the kingdom and strict measures were taken against any kind of practice of non Muslim rituals or moving and possessing any religious or celebratory artifacts.
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