Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy February 14th!!

So, there’s a new holiday in town- Qatar now celebrates a “National Sports Day.”

Everyone gets a day off on February 14th. Yes, February 14th, the day that the rest of the world would consider as Valentines Day. Coincidence? Maybe. But, some people say it’s just a way to stop people from celebrating Valentines Day, which is not a day of celebration on the Islamic calendar.

Qatar’s locals and a lot of its society are of Islamic background and culture, which is also how the monarchy works here, according to the Islamic Sharia. Even though children grow up in Muslim homes and are socialized into a Muslim-like atmospheres, but that doesn’t mean they are cut off of televisions and the Internet. Most of the cartoons, shows and movies they watch come right from the US, where they learn about days like Valentines Day and Christmas. A lot of the malls and shops also use these holidays as marketing strategies to attract customers, not forgetting that a lot of the community in Qatar is not Muslim. You would see Christmas trees in malls on Christmas Eve and heart shaped cakes in bakeries on Valentines Day. All this factors definitely play a part in the socialization of these children and teenagers as they grow up.

What about these kids who are now going to grow up with a totally new holiday? Will they forget about Valentines Day and just celebrate the National Sports Day instead? When I went out to witness February 14th this year, I kept an open eye for the way people celebrated it, whether it was for Valentines Day, or the National Sports Day. All work places, universities and schools took the day off. A lot of these places celebrated with an all day of sport activities. However, I turned on the TV and went online and the rest of the world was still celebrating Valentines Day. I walked into Dunkin Donuts and it served “always” and “forever” heart shaped donuts.

I went out for dinner and there was a romantic feel to the restaurant and a lot of candles everywhere, not footballs and basketballs.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing how February 14th will be played out in the coming years. For now, all I can say is that Qatar might be celebrating National Sports Day in the morning, but most of the people and restaurants and still celebrating Valentines Day during the night!

I guess this is could be good news for the boys, no more spending money on your girls on the 14th of February. Just grab your trainers and “sport buddies” and go out for a run!
Happy National Day, Qatar and for the rest of the world, Happy Valentines Day!

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