Wed, February 15, 2012
Lifestyle > Society > Valentine's Day 2012

Valentine's Day comes into light in Afghanistan

2012-02-14 13:37:28 GMT2012-02-14 21:37:28(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Farid Behbud, Yangtze Yan

KABUL, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Although the conservative Afghanistan majority are unaware of the Valentine's Day, some youngsters do celebrate the day by sending flowers to their beloved ones and by sending messages via cell phone or the Internet.

"Today is the Valentine's Day, it is a nice day for the young community, because this day gives lovers a chance to get in touch with each others to prove their affections," a lady named Palwasha Saboori told Xinhua on Tuesday.

"I hope everyone present a red flower or a postcard with a message of love to their dearest and that further tighten their love affairs," said 27-year-old Saboori at a flower shop in downtown Kabul.

Saboori, the director of a non-governmental organization for Afghan women training and development, said that in her country the majority of people have no idea about the Valentine's Day. Nevertheless, she noted, "We have very well-known lovers in our wealthy literature and rich history like Laili and Majnoon as well as Shirin and Farhad."

Speaking with a sorrow feeling, a young man named Belal said that "people mark the Valentine's Day worldwide, but we do not have a chance to celebrate the day here openly."

"It is true and it is the life of Afghan people, but we are happy because no blasts or bombings happened today. We wish our people could live in security," Belal said.

Saboori and Belal were interviewed by Xinhua in Kabul's popular Flower Street. Famous for serving customers with precious flowers and built about half a century ago, the small but well-known bazaar matches its name as bunches of variety of flowers are seen placed in front or inside the shops, attracting the flower-loving people particularly the youths.

"Many Kabulis also come to buy flower in special days like the Mother's Day, the Teacher's Day and the New Year's Day as well as the Valentine's Day and the Women's Day." said a flower seller, Farid Sangar.

Sangar said that several flower shops had been shut down by the Taliban, adding that many Taliban fighters did not like shopkeepers to sell flowers during the Taliban reign, which collapsed by the U.S.-led military campaign in late 2001.

"Today is the Valentine's Day, the young generation in this day comes to flower shops and buy flowers for their girlfriends. Today I also came here to buy some flowers for my girlfriend and show my love to her," Zakrya, 20, told Xinhua in the Flower Street.

"Lovers choose gifts to present for their sweethearts on the Valentine's Day but Afghan youths have only one easy approach to send them an SMS or an email," said Zakrya.

In Afghanistan, the tradition is that having open relations between boys and girls is a taboo. Love marriage and court marriage seldom happen in the Muslim Afghan society as the families prefer arranged marriage for their sons and daughters in accordance with Sharia or Islamic laws.

To slam the promotion of the Valentine's Day culture in the conservative Afghan society, an Afghan internet user has disapproved the western originated love culture by posting "No to Valentine's Day, I am a Muslim" on his facebook wall.

But a message posted by another Internet user said "Happy Valentine's Day to all lovers."

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