Saudi Arabia celebrates Valentine’s Day without hiccup

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Valentine's Day is lucrative for businesses, especially flower shops, restaurants, cafes, cosmetic clinics and beauty salons. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Valentine's Day is lucrative for businesses, especially flower shops, restaurants, cafes, cosmetic clinics and beauty salons. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Valentine's Day is lucrative for businesses, especially flower shops, restaurants, cafes, cosmetic clinics and beauty salons. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Valentine's Day is lucrative for businesses, especially flower shops, restaurants, cafes, cosmetic clinics and beauty salons. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 17 February 2019
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Saudi Arabia celebrates Valentine’s Day without hiccup

  • Love is in the air ... Valentine’s Day in the new Kingdom
  • Celebrating love is not limited to non-Muslims: Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi

JEDDAH: Red roses are no longer hidden in flower shop backrooms, and heart-shaped chocolates are no longer sold under the counter on Valentine’s Day, due to curbs placed in 2016 by the Saudi religious police.

In 2018, a Saudi religious figure endorsed Valentine’s Day celebrations for the first time in the Kingdom. 

Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi, former president of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Makkah, announced on TV that celebrating Valentine’s Day does not contradict Islamic teachings, and that celebrating love is not limited to non-Muslims.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated worldwide, much like Mother’s Day, as “a positive aspect of the human being,” he said.

As a result, Valentine’s Day is becoming very lucrative for businesses, especially flower shops, restaurants, cafes, cosmetic clinics and beauty salons.

Chocolate and gourmet food brands, such as Godiva, have prepared Valentine’s Day products.

Abdulaziz Al-Noman, a high-end local chocolatier, is cooperating with the Rubaiyat retailer and Fitaihi Jewelry to offer customers free chocolate boxes and flowers. 

Fitaihi, a well-known Saudi brand, is offering discounts on love bracelets and pendants for what they have dubbed “a very special occasion.”

Nadine Attar, a jewelry designer and the face of Nadine Jewellery, has dedicated a special line, “A Journey of Love,” for Valentine’s Day.

The limited collection is a continuation of the designer’s Rouh collection, which is inspired by “the words that speak to the soul,” citing verses from the Quraan and famous Arab poets like Gibran Khalil Gibran with philosophy and Al-Mutanabi for love.

“I decided to use colors and symbols of love, hence the heart-shaped ruby stone, which is traditionally paired with white and yellow gold, but I chose rose gold instead as rose and red colors created a modern combination, and they go very well together in symbolizing the occasion,” Attar told Arab News. The collection will be discontinued once its items run out.

Attar is also targeting men, having produced red aluminum cuff links and aluminum cuff bracelets tipped in red. She said she intends for her pieces to become heirlooms.

Lingerie brand Nayomi has launched a campaign called #CelebrateRomanceWithNayomi, with discounts of up to 25 percent on its romance collection, and free shipping on all orders until Feb. 14.

Fitness centers such as ReFit Gym are offering discounts on new memberships, and supermarkets such as Manuel and Al-Tamimi have special sales on products such as chocolates, teddy bears and red roses.

The Foursquare City Guide has listed 15 romantic spots in Jeddah for a Valentine’s dinner. The list includes French restaurant Le Traiteur, Zodiac Lounge in Al-Andalus, Italian restaurant Il Gabbiano on the Corniche, and Japanese restaurant Nozomi in Al-Rawdah.


MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

Updated 23 min 43 sec ago
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MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

  • Interns will work on entertainment mega-project
  • Program open to university seniors and new graduates

RIYADH: A new internship program for young Saudis has been launched in the Kingdom, following a partnership between Misk Foundation and the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).

The program runs from June 16 to Aug. 31, 2019, and provides an opportunity for university seniors and recent graduates to be part of Qiddiya, an entertainment mega-project located 40 minutes from Riyadh.

Interns will have the chance to work at Qiddiya’s corporate offices alongside professionals from around the world and will be placed across 12 departments.

They will learn and develop skills that are required to succeed in their professional lives.

They will also gain exposure to QIC’s culture and learn from executives with over 20 years of experience across several sectors. 

QIC CEO Mike Reininger said: “We are contributing directly to the Saudi Vision (2030 reform plan) by creating a richer lifestyle for Saudi citizens while spurring innovation in the creative, hospitality and entertainment sectors. This unique opportunity allows students and fresh graduates to experience what it takes to be part of the change in Saudi by giving them the chance to work alongside a group of both local and international seasoned professionals. Thanks to this partnership with MiSK, we will be training the next generation of industry leaders.” 

Application to the program is open for those with fewer than two years of professional experience. Candidates must show strong academic credentials and submit a short video as part of their application.

King Salman led the Qiddiya ground-breaking ceremony in front of a global audience last April.

The project is aimed at helping to stem the $30 billion a year which Saudis currently spend abroad on tourism, and has the backing of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.

It targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s preeminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination.

It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq. km.