Friday, February 17, 2012

The different shades of love

Saint Valentine’s Day, originally, is a holiday that honours one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentius.
However, the meaning of “Valentine’s” Day has evolved since then. Millions of people all over the world today celebrate this holiday by giving flowers, chocolates, cards and gifts to each other. For some, it is a celebration between lovers while for others, it is a celebration of love between friends and family.
The photos in this gallery show how people all over the world are celebrating, or not celebrating, Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February 2012.

Indonesian female students from a local Islamic boarding school hold up anti-Valentine's Day placards during a protest in Surabaya, East Java province. Conservative Indonesian Islamic groups denounced Valentine's Day, saying it is un-Islamic, promoting promiscuity, casual sex and consumption of alcohol while other groups described the day as foreign cultural influence.

Activists of the right-wing Hindu organisation the Shiv Sena pose in front of a burning placard during a demonstration denouncing Valentine's Day in Amritsar. The Shiv Sena strongly oppose Valentine's Day celebrations citing them as a cultural invasion on the Hindu way of life. 
Activists of Tanzeem-e-Islami hold placards and banners during a protest against Valentine’s Day in Karachi. The holiday is increasingly celebrated in Pakistan, a Muslim country where many conservatives disapprove of the occasion as a Western import.   4
Indonesian Muslim women hold banners that read "Honourable by wearing veil" and "No Valentine's day" during a protest against Valentine's day in Malang, East Java. Conservative Indonesian Islamic groups denounced Valentine's Day, saying it is un-Islamic, promoting promiscuity, casual sex and consumption of alcohol. 
Indian women members of right-wing Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) blow heartshaped balloons during a protest to denounce Valentine's Day in Hyderabad. The BJP and right-wing hindu groups strongly oppose Valentine's day celebrations citing them as cultural invasion on the Hindu way of life.  6
Indonesian students from a catholic school buy flowers to celebrate Valentine's Day in Denpasar on Bali island. Valentine's Day is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. 
An employee pastes a gold leaf on the face of a client at the Viet My beauty salon in Hanoi. Despite tough economic conditions, including soaring inflation, people in Vietnam seem to be spending heavily as usual on special occasions like Valentine's Day. Viet My is one of a small number of salons in Vietnam that provides 24k gold leaf face mask therapy, said to help make skin whiter. 
A Muslim couple takes pictures at the "Million Lights, Million Hearts" display ahead of Valentine's Day celebrations at Shah Alam commercial hub i-City, outside Kuala Lumpur. Islamic authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia have been conducting raids on Valentine's Day after an edict was issued in 2005 banning Muslims from celebrating the occasion, considered a Western celebration that could erode Muslim's faith.  9
Newly introduced couples are given five minutes to talk to each potential partner at the summit of the Sydney Tower. Standing at 260 metres above street level, Sydney’s highest viewing platform, a total of 14 singles search for a love match by speed dating on Valentine’s Day while enjoying breathtaking views. 
An Iraqi woman and a girl shop for Valentine's Day gifts in Baghdad, Iraq. Iraq's capital is embracing Valentine's Day this year with a huge public display of affection in what its residents say is the nation's most amorous celebration of the holiday ever.   11
Newly married couple Nonilon and Concepcion Elizalde kiss following a mass wedding sponsored by the city of Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines on Valentine's Day. More than 300 couples, all residents of the city, tied the knot Tuesday that becomes the annual tradition of the city on Valentine's Day.
A worker prepares roses for export before the upcoming Valentine's Day at Rio Roses greenhouse in Cayambe, Ecuador. Ninety percent of the flowers Americans will give to their sweethearts on February 14 are imported, and nearly all of those imports originate in Colombia and Ecuador.  13
Eroll Escobar kisses his partner Princess Madrolejo as they pose for photographers while carrying a 16-feet and 200 kg Albino Burmese Python during a Valentine's Day presentation inside a Malabon zoo, north of Manila.  14
Thai-Swedish couple William Timhede, 23, left, and Napatsawan Timhede, 39, kiss as they hang on sling wire in a show known as a "flying wedding" as part of an adventure-themed wedding ceremony in Prachinburi province, Thailand, on the eve of Valentine's Day. 
Children look at Changmao, the ram and Chunzi, the doe, during a cross-species wedding ceremony at Yunnan Wild Animal Park on Valentine's Day in Kunming, Yunnan province.
African penguin Howard carries a valentine heart written by a visitor to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, on the eve of Valentine’s Day.

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