Valentine’s Day: A Religious Issue in Pakistan

Pakistan has recently taken a legal stand against Valentine’s Day, prohibiting its celebration as a means of protecting Islamic values. The idea is that Valentine’s Day is a symbol of “Western vulgarity and promiscuity that Islamist clerics often rail against”. Thus, banning Valentine’s Day is the Pakistani government preventing promiscuous behavior that deters the nation from Middle Eastern customs.

Pakistan is becoming “both more Western and more Islamic at the same time”. As religions and cultures continue to globalize, Western behavior, wardrobe, and customs have become more wildly practiced in Pakistan. In conjunction with political heat, traditional Islamic practices have become more highly prioritized, by both the Muslim democracy and civilians.

This ban has created a cultural divide in Pakistan today. Although some agree with the concept of the Valentine’s Day ban, they argue that it is acting as a big blow to business. One man  argued that life is short, and that he shouldn’t be prevented from giving his wife a gift that would make her smile. Another man said, “With all the problems Pakistan has, why shouldn’t we have one day for happiness?” Simultaneously, other civilians are celebrating the loss of a symbol of Western infiltration, and the ability to get back to their roots.

This article reminded me of Monday’s presentation on the Euro-Catholic and Latino-Catholic community sharing a warship place. Sometimes, people practice the same religion, and even have similar values, but struggle to see eye-to-eye because of cultural differences. Although most people in Pakistan have similar religious values, how people choose to practice their religion within their personal culture can be unique.