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Why celebrating Valentine’s Day isn’t straightforward for some Muslims

6 51 3095
14.02.2019

Whether you’ve embraced the season of love with roses and chocolate or you’re already itching for the day to be over, Valentine’s Day probably hasn’t evoked any deep existential questions about your faith and identity – yet for many British Muslims, it does just that.

Now amplified through social media, year on year, we see a heated debate on the place Valentine’s Day should or shouldn’t have within Muslim communities, with some even denouncing the celebration as literally pure evil.

Combing over this antagonism to Valentine’s Day, we see the bulk of the aversion is linked to its speculative pagan roots. In pre-ancient Rome, mid-February marked the festival of Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility. Centuries later, the memory of this archaic rite, alongside imagery of the mythological god of erotic desire, Cupid, fused together with the tragic tale of a persecuted Christian priest named Saint Valentine. As legend has it, on the day before he was to be executed, the soon-to-be-martyr wrote to the daughter of his executioner, signing his letter with the immortalised words, “from your Valentine”.

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