Valentine's Day blooms in the emirates: A fusion of tradition and modernity

Abha Garyali Peer |

Valentine's Day, once considered a Western tradition, has become increasingly popular in the UAE in recent years. What was once a niche celebration has now transformed into a significant event marked by widespread enthusiasm and commercial activity across the country. This shift reflects evolving cultural attitudes, globalization, and the UAE's status as a melting pot of diverse influences.

Western Influence on the global hub

In the UAE, in recent times, there has been a noticeable shift in attitudes towards romance and love, especially among the younger generation. Social media, international travel, and exposure to Western culture have played crucial roles in shaping these changing perceptions.

One of the primary factors driving the popularity of Valentine's Day in the UAE is the increasing influence of Western customs and traditions. As the UAE continues to position itself as a global hub for business, tourism, and culture, it has embraced aspects of Western lifestyle, including holidays like Valentine's Day.

Retail frenzy and Cultural evolution:

Retailers seize this opportunity to capitalize on the festive spirit by offering special promotions, discounts, and themed merchandise, ranging from flowers and chocolates to romantic dinners and luxury gifts.

Femique, a Swedish Lingerie brand, approaches Valentine's Day in a way that aligns perfectly with their brand ethos and target audience. By recognizing the unique needs and challenges faced by expectant mothers and individuals with children, they emphasize the importance of self-care and nurturing love in all aspects of life. Their focus on providing stylish and comfortable maternity and nursing lingerie speaks directly to the desires of their customer base, who are likely seeking ways to feel both confident and cared for during a busy and chaotic period in their lives.

Miriam Lindholm and Angelique Fihn, co-founders, Femique, say: “Our customer base primarily consists of expectant mothers or individuals with children, which brings about a busy and chaotic period in their lives. Many of our followers face the challenge of striking a harmonious balance between family, friends, their partner, and themselves. As co-founders, this is an ongoing concern that we continuously address and evaluate. Consequently, during this time of year, Valentine's Day serves as a timely reminder for us to prioritize maintaining balance and nurturing love in all aspects of our lives. This entails fostering relationships with us, our significant others, and our loved ones.

“ Valentine's Day is a beautiful occasion that prompts us to extend love to all, particularly ourselves, having experienced the transformative journey of parenthood. We observe that during this period, our customers seize the opportunity to indulge in self-care activities they may usually neglect, including treating themselves to our high-quality lingerie. Witnessing the radiance and self-assurance they exude when wearing something both comfortable and beautiful brings us immense joy. Therefore, let us raise a toast to Valentine's Day and the essence it represents—a celebration of love that should be embraced every single day," they add.

Velvet Desert, a popular Jewellery brand in Kuwait, has come up with a new range of jewellery on the occasion of Valentine’s Day.

Fai and Shaima Goudarzi, co-founders, Velvet Desert, say: “We have recently dropped our new collection, and the clients will have a lot more unique and stylish options to choose from. This time, we do not have any special discounts other than signing up and getting 10% off on your first purchase as a new Velvet Desert client.”

On the rise in sales during this period, they say: “Sales increase during valentines by around 10%. During Valentine’s there are more of male buyers as compared to female customers”

FNP UAE, a well-known gifting and flower gifting brand in the UAE, with many retail outlets and online presence, has witnessed tremendous spike in orders during the Valentine week.

“This Valentine's season, we're transforming the essence of love in Dubai, presenting a month filled with romance and surprises," says Vijay Ghadge, Vice President of FNP UAE, enthusiastically.

"Our collaboration with different brands and the introduction of Valentine kiosks across Dubai's iconic locations are just the beginning. At FNP.ae, our commitment is to spread love and happiness, making every moment of this Valentine's season truly special and memorable for all."

IGP - International Gifts Platform, has curated an exclusive 'Love Redefined' collection, featuring luxurious gifts like majestic bouquets, heart-shaped wonders, delectable cakes, and personalized treasures. This carefully crafted selection offers the perfect expressions of love tailored for every personality.

Tarun Joshi, CEO & Founder of IGP, says: “As we expand into the MENA region, drawing from our extensive product range that includes cakes, flowers, and personalized gifts, we’re poised for significant growth, mirroring the remarkable trajectory we’ve seen in other markets. With an impressive 80% growth during the Valentine’s season across our product lines, we’re confident about our prospects in the UAE as we introduce our ‘Love Redefined’ campaign.

This collection of over 1500 curated SKUs is a testament to our commitment to delivering heartfelt gifting experiences that transcend borders. From the opulent 365 red roses bouquet to the decadence of our diamond box with secret messages, each product in our Love Redefined collection embodies a unique facet of love.”

Shift in societal norms

In addition to commercialization and cultural influences, there is a growing emphasis on personal expression and emotional connection in Emirati society. Many young couples view Valentine's Day as an opportunity to express love and affection openly, challenging traditional norms surrounding romance and relationships. This shift is evident in the increasing number of individuals exchanging gifts, organising romantic outings, and publicly declaring their love on social media platforms.

Navigating criticism, embracing growth

However, it's essential to recognize that the celebration of Valentine's Day in the UAE is not without its critics. Some conservative voices argue that the holiday promotes Western values at the expense of traditional Emirati customs and Islamic principles. There are concerns about the commercialization of love and the pressure it places on individuals to conform to societal expectations.

Despite these criticisms, the popularity of Valentine's Day in the UAE continues to grow unabated.