Valentine's Day may be a romantic holiday with Christian roots and a uniquely American commercial spin, but it has become incredibly popular among Palestinians. Lysandra Ohrstrom offers a slideshow of the festivities...
Special to MORE INTELLIGENT LIFE
Ramallah, the de-facto capital city of the West Bank, has been festooned in red and white for nearly a week. Palestinians are busy celebrating two seemingly incongruous occasions: the revolution in Egypt and Valentine's Day.
When news of Hosni Mubarak's resignation broke last Friday evening, hundreds of men, women and children gathered in Ramallah's central square to cheer on their neighbours, waving red, white and black Egyptian flags. Amid singing, dancing and the occasional home-made fireworks display, the crowds chanted slogans denouncing President Barack Obama and American interference in the Middle East politics, and called for an end to dictatorships throughout the region.
Like much of the Arab world, Palestinians in the West Bank appear to be buoyed by Egypt's revolution and fed up with American foreign policy. But the wave of pan-Arab solidarity sweeping the region seems to have done little to dilute the appeal of Valentine's Day, a romantic holiday with Christian roots and a uniquely American commercial spin. In the past few years, Valentine's Day has become incredibly popular in Ramallah and other West Bank cities, and this year was no exception.
Last week, many store-owners in Ramallah's predominately Muslim shopping district, Manara, began displaying heart-shaped candy and stuffed animals emblazoned with familiar declarations, such as "I love You" and "Be My Mine" in Arabic and English. On the eve of Valentine's Day, the festivities continued in cities across the West Bank as Palestinians bought gifts for their loved ones and revelled in the reflected glow of Egypt's revolution.
Lysandra Ohrstrom is a journalist based in New York City