Saudi Arabia celebrating its first legal Valentine’s Day

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As if romance wasn’t enough of a reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day, lovers in the nation of Saudi Arabia on Friday are celebrating the first time the holiday can be legally observed.

According to Arab News, marking the day for lovebirds would have been unthinkable as recently as three years ago as the holiday had been declared forbidden by Islamic law. The country’s religious police could arrest shop or restaurant owners who allowed celebration of the day or even close their businesses.

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The country’s stance changed in 2018 when the former head of the religious police declared that Valentine’s Day was not against Islamic teaching because celebrating love is universal.

The Middle East Monitor reported that people have been buying gifts, flowers and chocolates in stores that can now openly display the items.