Merry and Bright!

17 Nov

In the build up to Valentines day in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, there is a city-wide ban on the sale of red flowers, especially red roses. The muttawah (religious police) make regular checks on florists and flower sellers around this time and confiscate any contraband they may find. Valentines Day is not recognised in Islam and I think that the authorities also believe that it may encourage men and women to mix in situations where they are not permitted to. My opinion though, not something that I know to be absolutely true and correct.

I relate this piece of information regarding Valentines Day festivities not because I wish to find fault with Saudi Arabia. Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that our time there holds a very special place in my heart, it was a great experience for me. The reason I bring the matter up is simply to try to help my readers to understand how completely gobsmacked I was when we discovered this 2 nights ago…

christmas trees lining the pavement in front of a store! We had heard that there existed a shop that sold Christmas paraphanalia and were keen to see what they might have. We certainly didn’t expect…wait for it…an entire store dedicated to Christmas. 

Row upon row of wreaths, tinsel, nativity scenes, wrapping paper, Santa’s and even pillar candles with pictures of Jesus. We have just left a country that would probably lock you up if you were found in public with so much as a Christmas bauble in your handbag whereas in Qatar we find ourselves walking freely amongst revolving plastic Christmas trees.

    I remain, as always, continually amazed.


4 Responses to “Merry and Bright!”

  1. OPA & OMA November 20, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    hi pips this is unbelievable so do enjoy the shopping there. i wish i was there to go with you.
    XXX Brigitte

  2. dustbusting November 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    We will have to pop into The Christmas Store and buy a few things in the next few weeks, once our house is a little more organised and we can see the floor.

  3. Toni Carter November 21, 2011 at 2:37 am #

    Ooh that looks A-mazing ! We have a supermarket here with a few items, but not like this 🙂 xxxx

    • dustbusting November 21, 2011 at 5:49 am #

      It’s so strange for a Muslim country, Toni. I’ve never seen a store dedicated entirely to Christmas in South Africa where most people celebrate Christmas so this just blew me away. It’s fun though. We will have to pop in again and get a few nick nacks and a tree. Our boy needs to decorate his first tree this Christmas.

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