BBC reports that Shiv Sena, a nationalist political party in India, has spoken out against Valentine’s day, calling it “nothing but a Western onslaught on India’s culture to attract youth for commercial purposes.”
The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. In 2001, the U.S. State Department reported child slavery on many cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. A 2002 report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions.
Valentine’s Day is banned in Saudi Arabia
The nation has a religious police force that uphold the annual ban with support from the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Everything related to the holiday is prohibited – candy, flowers, gifts…even the color red! It’s outlawed based on a fatwa, or Islamic legal ruling, against pagan holidays. They may have a good point. Even though the holiday often has the word “Saint” preceding it, most of the Valentine’s day traditions are rooted in a pagan fertility celebration. (Learn more about Valentine’s Day’s origins)
The Saudi officials have recently reminded its citizens about the ban in lieu of the growing popularity of the holiday in the Arab world. Retailers, restaurants, and hotels in the region in particular have been aggressively promoting the holiday, which is really good for business.
Nothing red can be worn or sold on Valentine’s Day in Saudi Arabia.
Every February 14th, florists in Saudi Arabia are actually putting away their red roses and store owners are taking down anything that’s red, heart –shaped, or vaguely Valentine’s Day-ish. These things are done at the order of the “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” otherwise known as the Religious Police.
The penalty for daring to defy these orders is the store being shut down. People are also not supposed to wear anything red on Valentine’s Day. If they do, they will be denied entry into school, work, stores, or wherever they have to go. The reasoning behind all this is that it discourages people from celebrating this holiday, which in the country is associated with out-of-wedlock contact between men and women.
India celebrates Children’s Day on November 14th, 9 months after Valentine’s day
Although completely unrelated to today’s holiday, it’s a funny coincidence to that India would celebrate a holiday dedicated to emphasize the importance of giving love and affection to children.
The holiday in India is celebrated that day because it’s the birthday of the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharial Nehru. Indian kids called him Uncle Nehry. His affection for kids inspired the holiday.
In 2011, Iran banned Valentine cards, gifts, teddy bears, and other Valentine tokens as part of an Islamic republic backlash against the spread of Western culture. Additionally, some religious activists in India and Pakistan protest Valentine’s Day as a day of shame of lust. They view it as a Western holiday in which Westerners satisfy their “sex thirst.”