Afghan youths break up traditions to mark Valentine’s Day

Source: Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah

Abdul Haleem

KABUL, Feb. 14 (Xinhua): About a decade ago few people knew about the Valentine’s Day in the traditionalist and militancy-plagued Afghanistan. But this year, the day was celebrated openly in parts of the capital city of Kabul in a relatively splendid way on Thursday.
The lovers and supporters of the Day, mostly the teenagers and youngsters, released hundreds of heart-shaped balloons and balloons inscribed with the word “Love” and “I love you” to the air in Shahr-e-Now neighborhood in downtown Kabul, showing their support to the Valentine’s Day and the promotion of the culture in their conservative country.
“Today is the Valentine’s Day, the day of lovers and I cordially congratulate the Day to all lovers,” Nawin Habibi whispered in talks with Xinhua.
Nevertheless, Habibi, 22, lamented opposition to the Valentine’s Day, saying “We the young generation should overlook the old-fashioned traditions and celebrate the Day.”
Carrying a heart-shaped balloon and an infant-like toy inside a shop decorated with Valentine’s gifts, Habibi told Xinhua, “We should resist those opposing the Day to win the war.”
“This is our right to express our love and our feeling to anyone we love,” murmured the brave teenager.
In the conservative Afghanistan, many people, especially those living in the countryside who deeply believe in traditions, are against the Valentine’s Day and its celebration.
Neither a boy nor a girl can express his or her love openly in the conservative Afghanistan. If anyone does, he or she would pay high price, ranging from honor killing, stoning to death and chopping nose or ear and exclusion from the family.
However, the culture of marking the Valentine’s Day is apparently taking root in the conformist Afghanistan as the number of its supporters has been on the rise over the past decade.
Afghans, especially the young generations, celebrate the Day by offering flowers, presenting gifts or sending messages on social media to those they love.
“I am here to choose a souvenir for my fiancee to mark the Valentine’s Day,” 28-year-old Shah Nazar told Xinhua.
Disagreeing with those opposing the Valentine’s Day celebration, the laughing young man muttered, “It is ridiculous to forget the one you love in life.”
“Salute to the Valentine’s Day. I am here to buy a gift for my fiance and I am hopeful that all Afghans were able to mark the Valentine’s Day free of fear one day,” said Farahnaz inside a shop decorated with Valentine Day gifts.