Saturday, February 23, 2008
Be my valentine
Everyone needs an outlet for love.
In Egypt, young people live with their parents until they get married. Romantic love is a really touchy subject, with the greatest implications of morality and honor. Sex out of wedlock for both men and women is taboo, and if women in particular are not virgins on their wedding night, it will generally spell major trouble for her and her family. Publicly displaying affection, like embracing or kissing, even between married couples, is looked down upon. Flirtation can constitute a warm smile (which has gotten me into trouble a few times--but that's for another post).
So it surprised me that Egypt, as it turns out, is over-the-top crazy about Valentine's Day. Today is February 23 and shops are still filled with every kind of Valentine's Day gift, from the giant cheesy teddy bears to expensive jewelry. Everything is still decorated to the extreme with red, white and pink.
This saleswoman actually told me there are two Valentine's Days in Egypt--the other one is on Nov. 4.
Valentine's Day teddy bears.
It's just one of those little things about this place that reminds me we are all human.