Valentine’s in Riadh

Red clothing and lingerie are displayed in Saudi shopfronts, but the increasingly popular Valentine’s Day promotions are missing one thing: the festival’s name. While sales surge and Valentine’s gifts become more common among the youthful Saudi population, the word “Valentine’s” is nowhere to be seen. “Management has asked us to decorate the window display with red lingerie … but without mentioning anywhere Valentine’s Day,” said one salesperson at a Riyadh mall, who did not want to be named as she was not authorised to speak to media. The displays represent change in Saudi Arabia, where stick-toting religious police once cracked down on sales of Valentine’s Day paraphernalia and even on people wearing red during the February 14 festival.