Valentine's Day looked a bit different in Saudi Arabia this year; it was actually red.
In the past, the religious police have restricted the sale of Valentine's related items and cracked down on festivities surrounding the Western holiday. But this year, the kingdom's conservative Committee of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the "religious police") simply stepped back, according to Arab News.
Previous years saw committee members patrolling flower shops and confiscating any offending red roses they might find. Back in 2012, the religious police even arrested more than 100 people for celebrating.
This year, flower shops throughout Jeddah were selling custom-made Valentine boxes, including balloons and flowers, starting at a hefty 550 Saudi riyals ($147).
But, some florists in the kingdom still decided to avoid the holiday altogether, fearing controversy based on past experience.
"We have experienced problems in the past and I am not willing to go through the same dilemma again," an anonymous Riyadh florist told Arab News.
Opponents of Valentine's Day argue that it is a pagan holiday, meant to create unnecessary consumerism by the West. Other predominantly Muslim countries – such as Pakistan and Indonesia – have cracked down on the holiday as well.
And some Saudis just celebrated Valentine's Day in their own unique way
The fact that the religious police didn't target Valentine's this year falls in line with a decision made last year. In April, the Saudi cabinet barred the authority from pursuing, questioning, requesting identification from or arresting suspects.
Under the leadership of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the kingdom's ambitious Vision 2030, serious reforms are underway. These include social as well as economic reforms, aimed at making Saudi Arabia more open to the world.