A Pakistani judge on Monday banned all Valentine’s Day celebrations in the country’s capital, Islamabad, saying they are against Islamic teachings.
The judge ruled on a petition seeking to ban public celebrations of the Western holiday, court official Niaz Saleh said. He said the order had been sent to Pakistan’s media regulator to ensure a blackout on any Valentine’s Day promotions in print or electronic media.
The ban applies only to Pakistan’s capital as the Islamabad high court has no jurisdiction beyond the city.
The regulator in a statement directed all Pakistani media outlets not to print or broadcast anything that promotes Valentine’s Day. No event shall be held at any official level and at any public place, the statement quoted a part of the court order.
Later on Monday, the government issued an order to local police to enforce the court ban. A similar order was in place last year in Islamabad.
Islamist and right-wing parties in Pakistan view Valentine’s Day as vulgar Western import.
However, the annual homage to romance on Feb. 14 has become popular in recent years across the Middle East and also in Pakistan.
Though some Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia also have sought to stamp out Valentine’s Day, with the religious police mobilizing ahead of Feb. 14 and descending on gift and flower shops to confiscate all red items, including flowers, it is still celebrated widely in other places such as Dubai.
In 2013, Indonesian officials and Muslim clerics called for young people to skip Valentine’s Day, saying it’s an excuse for couples to have forbidden sex.
Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14. It originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honoring one or more early saints named Valentinus, and is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country.
Several martyrdom stories associated with the various Valentines that were connected to February 14 were added to later martyrologies, including a popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome which indicated he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, Saint Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius, and before his execution, he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell.
The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“). In Europe, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart”, as well as to children, in order to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine’s Malady). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Saint Valentine’s Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion, as well as in the Lutheran Church. Many parts of the Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day, albeit on July 6 and July 30, the former date in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni).