BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 13:46 GMT
Saudis clamp down on valentines
Roses
Prices for black market roses are reported to be rising
Religious police in Saudi Arabia are banning the sale of Valentine's Day gifts including red roses, a local newspaper has reported.

The Saudi Gazette quoted shop workers as saying that officials had warned them to remove all red items including flowers and wrapping paper.

Black market prices for roses were already rising, the paper said.

Saudi authorities consider Valentine's Day, along with a host of other annual celebrations, as un-Islamic.

In addition to the prohibition on celebrating non-Islamic festivals, the authorities consider Valentine's Day as encouraging relations between men and women outside wedlock - punishable by law in the conservative kingdom.

The Saudi Gazette reported that some people placed orders with florists days or weeks before Valentine's Day in anticipation of the ban, which is a regular occurrence.

"Sometimes we deliver the bouquets in the middle of the night or early morning, to avoid suspicion," one florist said.

Others were planning to travel to the more religiously liberal neighbouring countries, Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates, to celebrate.

Saudi Arabian authorities impose a strict Islamic code that prevents men and women from mixing.

SEE ALSO
Whatever happened to Saudi reform?
06 Feb 08 |  Middle East
UN call for Saudi women's rights
01 Feb 08 |  Middle East
S Arabia eases laws on solo women
22 Jan 08 |  Middle East
Cooling the ardour of Valentine's Day
13 Feb 02 |  Middle East
Country profile: Saudi Arabia
15 Jan 08 |  Country profiles



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific