Roses were red in Saudi Arabia this Valentine's Day, something that wasn't embraced so publicly in previous years.
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 the kingdom has been celebrating the love over the years. In 2017, the kingdom embraced the Valentine's spirit for the first time in recent memory. This came after conservative Committee of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the "religious police") simply stepped back.
Love was in the air in 2019; flower shops, restaurants, beauty salons, and gourmet food brands embraced the holiday in rosy spirit. What was different this time around was the fact that fear was not an element.
Though the government hasn't formally announced the lift of the "unwritten Valentine's Day ban," business owners and managers were less afraid of getting caught and punished this year, according to Bloomberg.
Lingerie brands embraced the festivities, too!
Nayomi, a lingerie shop founded in Saudi Arabia in 1992, launched a campaign titled #CelebrateRomanceWithNayomi in honor of Valentine's.
Customers were able to benefit from a 25 percent discount on its romance collection.
Romantic dinners were suggested online
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.
In 2018, a Saudi religious figure endorsed Valentine's Day celebrations
For the first time ever, Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi, former president of the kingdom's religious police, said that celebrating Valentine's Day is not haram.
"Celebrating Valentine's Day does not contradict Islamic teachings as it is a worldly, social matter just like celebrating the National Day and Mother's Day," he said, according to Arab News.
"All these are common social matters shared by humanity and are not religious issues that require the existence of religious proof to permit it," he added.