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MANILA, Philippines - Don't want to celebrate Valentine's Day? Go to Uzbekistan.
Authorities in the Central Asian country have canceled events related to Valentine's Day, and insted have urged citizens to mark the day to promote and study the legacy of the Moghul emperor Babur, reports the BBC.
The birthday of the hero, a descendant of Genghis Khan, falls on Fabruary 14, and the Uzbekistan government plans to commemorate the event via "readings and poetic festivals," the BBC said.
The news organization reports an internal decree has been issued "not to celebrate holidays that are alien to our culture," and encouraged people to promote the historic figure's birthday.
One of the events affected by the move was a concert by local pop star Rayhan, who has performances every Valentine's Day for years. Locals are reportedly divided on the issue,
Valentine's Day is one of the latest casualties of the Uzbek government's war against "Western influences" that undermine local values and traditions.
Other casualties have included Latin American soap operas, as well as hard rock and rap music. One performer, however, escapes scrutiny, says critics: the president's daughter, Gulnara Karimova, who often produces raunchy music videos.
Not alone in restricting V-Day
Uzbekistan is not alone in having an anti-Valentine's Day sentiment.
Islamic hardliners in Indonesia have called for a ban on Valentine's Day celebrations in the city of Sukabumi.
The Jakarta Post reports members of the group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) rallied at the city's main square on Sunday, saying the occassion is against Islamic tradition and hence must be rejected.
HTI's leaders said the day is often used by unmarried couples to do immoral acts, the newspaper reported.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also has a long-standing war against Valentine's Day, where the religious police warn shopkeepers against selling anything related to the event - anything red, actually - in the days leading to February 14. - Rappler.com
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