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Iran Bans Valentine’s Day

Iran Bans Valentine’s Day

It’s easy to dislike the consumerism and manufactured sentiment of Valentine’s Day (I know I do), but a recent move by Iran takes opposition to the February 14th holiday to a whole new level.  Valentine’s Day, which has become increasingly popular in Middle Eastern countries, will be functionally banned in Iran this year, after the semiofficial news agency ILNA reported that a state directive prohibits all cards, teddy bears or other gifts.

Printing or producing any of these goods is illegal, and shops have been ordered not to sell them.  Western news outlets (mostly the AP) have chalked the move up to the Iranian government’s desire to quash the spread of Western culture among their youth.  And it’s not a new impulse: three years ago, Saudi Arabia asked all florists and gift shops to remove all red items until after Valentine’s Day, and Saudi officials sometimes raid stores to remove taboo items on the night of February 13th. 

Another routinely raised objection is the fact that Valentine’s Day has Christian origins; tradition says that it’s named after an early Christian martyr (although it was removed from the Catholic General Roman calendar and relegated to local calendars in 1969).

The ban does make me realize, though, just how commercialized the holiday has become, if prohibiting decorations and consumer goods can destroy the “spirit” of Valentine’s Day.  What do you think?  Will this ban make a difference, and should the Iranian government bother curtailing Valentine’s Day celebrations?

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61 comments

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6:04PM PST on Mar 1, 2011

I don't like this. I mean, yes it would be interesting to see if this would stop the feeling of love that Valentine's Day brings. But this, this is just stupid. You're banning a holiday because why again? To stop western influence? Not to mention this is a holiday about love. Are they suggesting western influence is all things good and about love? Wow. That's all I have to say.

5:28PM PST on Mar 1, 2011

Okay, I may not be keen on Valentine's Day, but it's ridiculous to think it would be BANNED. It's my choice to participate or not - and I kind of like the fact that I could buy myself some chocolates in a heart and not get arrested for it...

6:39PM PST on Jan 25, 2011

I thought this was an article from "The Onion."

And Muriel, your remarks could also be applied to Christmas.

10:59AM PST on Jan 21, 2011

It's not anti western. It's anti Roman. It's like for example Americans not really giving a rat's about Victoria day. Go across the border and we have a National holiday for her. Does that make either of us oppressed? No. We all have different traditions and that's what makes human culture.
Remember the Iranians had a revolution not that long ago against a monarchy. All these war mongers would be shocked to see the similarities between these nations but that might require reading history. History isn't nearly as exciting as propaganda.

7:27AM PST on Jan 19, 2011

As my wife & I became engaged on 14/02/1983 I always think of it in those terms rather than in anyway religious, but I too dislike the consumerism and manufactured sentiment of Valentine's Day (or any other holiday).

5:05AM PST on Jan 19, 2011

I don't believe the issue for Iran is simply that this is a Western thing. The issue is that it is based on Christian origins. And I'm sure there is a problem with treating a woman with a demonstration of love and appreciation.
I never knew valentine's day to be based on Christian origin. It doesn't surprise me the Catholic church is involved. The Catholic church so determined to compete with everything to get attention, based a lot of events on pagan holidays.
Whether Iran bans valentine's day or not, should not be the concern of any other country.

3:49AM PST on Jan 19, 2011

When things like this are allowed to happen, the conservative Christians in the USA become so envious they are motivated to continue and push forward their goal to make the USA a Christian nation, so they will have the same abilities. "Oh the good ole' days" they say to themselves, and continue; "when we could burn someone for being a "witch", or for wearing the wrong color clothing. Oh how I miss the days where we could lynch black people and adulterers, and no one had any rights unless they were real Christians...non of those Quakers or Mormons would be running around, and all the gays would be eliminate, woman would know their place and God's Old Testament will be the law of the land". Oh how they miss the days gone by when they were rulers. Those darn countries that teach fundamentalist Islam that mirror those early settlers in the USA who acted the same way. It must of been a good time to be alive...that is if you were a white, Puritan Christian.

6:51PM PST on Jan 15, 2011

Think it scares the #@$% out of the imprinters having little boys and girls relating in Baby love "Early Romanticism".
May inspire devilish corrupt behaviour later when girls and boys make personal choices, girls don't go happily into the tent and
kids aren't completely ignorant of each other at "marriage".
It's easier to fit the nose ring in the nose of ignorance and fear.

1:44PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

should Iran ban Valentines Day? Is there a reason why this has been put up for a vote?

I do not normally do much for Valentines ... but now I will just because of this ...

7:10AM PST on Jan 8, 2011

Klaus P.-Not if the religious right get their way. Only Jesus approve holidays allowed.

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