February 14 · Love · Opinion essay · Personal essay · Relationships

Why Saudis need a halal Valentines Day!


Growing up in a society where husbands and wives don’t publicly hold hands, exchange flirtatious looks, or say “I love you”, Saudi girls find alternative in romantic movies and Turkish soap operas. When I say “publicly” I don’t mean public exchange of love out in the streets in front of strangers, I mean in front of their families or kids, where other people can feel love vibes in the air.

In Valentines Day, even though so many Saudis do not (or pretend that they do not want to) celebrate such occasion, Saudi women “or most of them at least” would be so hungry to see manifestations of love. Any sign that shows there exists happy couples who are head over heels for each other. Anything that illustrates that marriage is not a parallel with dullness or routine, but rather a bond of friendship, love and deep respect.

The excitement to reach February 14 of each year is not in the Valentine’s Day as an occasion of love, but rather to feel the love they get to only watch on TV. 

The vibes Saudi women receive when witnessing power of love are important to re-establish wrong buried beliefs that stereotype Saudi men to be non-romantic, and Saudi women to be materialistic and careless.

Now, you may wonder, why do not Saudis show love in public?

It’s simply a society thing. It has absolutely nothing to do with religion. At all. 

People are not used to public display of affection. Couples get often afraid of being judged as “too sentimental”, “inconsiderate of the feelings of singles” or “actors of fake happiness” in front of others.

The produce of love poverty is a new generation of young women who want wedding, not marriage. Women who all they care about in a man is being romantic and would scream “I love you” down her window. Women who want to marry a man who constantly validates his love for her through gifts she can show off in snapchat and Twitter to her followers and friends. 

The produce is a generation of young men who think it is manly to let your woman beg for affection and love. 

I am glad that some young Saudi couples have started a positive trend of change where emotions are expressed publicly and spontaneously. They are being criticized and attacked, yet love always wins and it will always do till the end.

P.S: this article does not represent all Saudi men and women. There are always exceptions.




My name is Noor and I’m a Saudi writer.

I love to read, dance and eat bagels.

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49 thoughts on “Why Saudis need a halal Valentines Day!

  1. I agree – not just that Saudis could benefit from more public displays of love and affection, but rather the whole world could. When we live in a world where it is more permissible to display rage and hatred in the streets than love, there is something clearly wrong. Even the fanatical adoration that one sees in the media – for rock stars or even politicians – is more permissible and commonplace than actual displays of love. That some can no longer differentiate between these expressions and real love is also very descriptive for how our world is doing these days.

    And while I’m not criticizing the idea of watching open displays of love and affection take place on television or in a film, I find it sad when this is the primary means by which someone experiences such things – vicariously, through fiction. And you might be surprised at how many people in the Western cultures where such shows and films are made, rely on such things as their own primary means of experiencing love and affection. It is not love or affection, but rather the burying down of love and affection that make us emotionally fragile and weak. It’s an irony – but I can tell from your writing here that you have noticed the same thing.

    Out of curiosity, how is romantic interest generally made known in your culture?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a lot for the comment. Im really glad it’s a universal thing, not just some domestic situation Saudis face.
      The whole world could use more love. And you’re absolutely right about showing hatred and negativity. It has become easier to many people to be sour and negative with one another “especially their loved ones” than loving and positive.
      It’s about time to make a change!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great info Noor! My first thoughts were that there were some religious undertones to the lack of displayed affection. Thanks for clearing that up. Here’s to hope that you and the younger Saudi women continue to be agents of change. The world definitely needs to see more love! I believe it can change the way a lot of black men see and treat our women as well…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What type of Valentines day would Saudi’s approve of? I mean, as a British Asian, Valentines day is looked upon as a commercial success and less anything else. Showing once affection, love and appreciation isn’t really a schedule task for a set day. I do, although, approve of the generosity of each person on this day but the Valentines day does bring about it’s limitation and restrictions much like the culture of Saudi Arabia you’ve described.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by!
      The type of Valentines that Saudi society could approve of is that which can take place between husbands and wives.

      I understand that Valentine’s Day is only to showcase love which may seem more superficial than genuine, but the point is it’s a day of love. Showing love away from movies and TV.
      If people in Saudi can start to show love for their wives, husbands in a day, then let’s hope that that would be an intro towards celebrating more public display of affection during the rest of the year. Amen!


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