Feature: Marking Valentine's Day in Afghanistan

Wednesday, 2018-02-14 22:08:55
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An Afghan vendor waits for customers at his shop on Valentine's Day in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, on Feb. 14, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Zahra, 20, is among a handful of boys and girls who were glancing at flowers inside a flower shop in downtown Kabul on Wednesday to select her favorite rose for her beloved one to mark the Valentine's Day.

"In expressing our love, we should be fearless to show our love to anyone we love," Zahra whispered to Xinhua.

Selecting a rose and carrying in hand with joy, Zahra said with cheerfulness that "Valentine's Day is a great day."

The Valentine's Day is a new terminology in Afghanistan where its inhabitants largely believe in old traditions.

But today, the popular Flower Selling Street in downtown Kabul is a hustle and bustle as scores of couples, boys and girls visiting the flower shops to buy bunches of flowers for their beloved ones to express their love.

"The prolonged war and civil strife have deprived us from all happiness. Today is the Valentine's Day and this great day gives us the chance to be happy, to celebrate our love and above all, the Valentine's Day is an opportunity for couples, for boys to express their love for their girl friends and vice-versa," Zahra said light-heartedly.

Touring the shops in the Flower Selling Street on Feb. 14 features another face of the militancy- plagued Kabul where the deadly attacks in January had claimed more than 100 lives and injured more than 250 others.

The flower selling shops decorated with heart-shaped balloons and balloons printed with "Love" and "I Love You" attracted youngsters from dawn to dusk.

In Afghanistan, where many people, especially in rural areas, deeply believe in old traditions and regard expressing love as taboo, couples and spouses rarely express openly their love to each other.

However, marking the Valentine's Day has encouraged youngsters to break the taboo.

"I am very happy to come here in Kocha-e-Gul Feroshi to take flowers for my girlfriend and celebrate the Valentine's Day," Mohammad Waqif Noori, 30, said excitedly.

"By presenting a flower to my wife, I congratulate the Valentine's Day and express my love to my life partner and all my countrymen," a Kabul resident, Rawal Singh, said softly.