Selling red roses was banned in Saudi Arabia on Valentine's Day.
Officials from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice warned flower and gift shops to remove all red roses from their shelves.
"They stopped by last night," a florist from the Philippines said. "They gave us warnings and this morning we packed up all the red roses."
In Jubail, in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia, the ban was enforced on Wednesday and remained until after Thursday the 14th. The community members – mostly are local citizens – showed frustration and anger. “Why don’t you ban everything red, then? One customer shouted at the florist. “I can see them behind the counter over there. Give me one,” screamed another.
The authorities believe celebrating Valentine's Day is against Sharia, the Islamic laws, and encourages relations out of wedlock, which are strictly forbidden.
The crackdown has pushed up the price of the flowers on the black market, with some florists making deliveries in the middle of the night, a person who prefers not reveal his identity has confessed.
Couples who anticipated the ban placed orders for red roses, red wrapper, and gifts weeks before the deadline. In fact, in the previous years, “they banned selling everything red on Valentine's Day last year,” another customer commented.
Saudi Arabia imposes a strict code which prevents unmarried men and women from socializing together. Relations outside marriage are banned and punishable by law.