I just read an article on “arab news” one of the market leading English newspapers in Saudi Arabia, it left me gobsmacked for a few minutes then I laughed a little (full article on “arab news”)
I thought the annual February 14th ritual of “red valentine” hunt was over but seems not, it is back with a vengeance this year like it has been for the past 8-10 years. What’s ironic is that the mutawas (religious police) are always so excited and animated about the upcoming hunt that it seems they have been waiting and planning for it all year round almost making it their own way of marking Valentine’s day, they turned it into a cross between Valentine and Easter egg hunt except that instead of eggs they hunt everything that remotely resembles flowers, hearts or is coloured red.
I wonder if they get a bonus payment for each red object seized, that would give some logical explanation to the hunt. I just don’t understand where they got the idea that February 14th i.e. Valentine’s day had any religious meaning behind it, yes it’s true that it did have some religious connotation up until the 13th century but all that died out since then (in coincidence that is when that same date started to become linked to celebrating love and romance) so really all the romance on that day is symbolic and all the red/hearts/roses are commercial or maybe it’s just the fact that it’s named Saint Valentine after a Christian saint that annoys them? In that case can’t we simply rename it Valentine and skip the Saint part…..will that stop the annual red hunt?
And really, I never understood why this heat was only targeting Valentine’s day why don’t they plan a candy and witch hunt for Halloween when in fact Halloween actually does have strong still-to-date celebrated Christian links. The shops are oozing kids fancy costumes, scary shaped candy and chocolates and mini trick or treats planned in residential areas. But I never heard of a mutawa hunt on October 31st, is it maybe a “budget” problem? do they blow the whole hunt budget on February 14th and then there is non left for an October 31st hunt? I think they need a new finance manager