There is no time for love for in Uzbekistan this year... the local authorities have cancelled several Valentine's Day events as part of attempts to encourage the population to commemorate the birthday of the first Mughal emperor Babur instead.
The Russian news agency RIA-Novosti cited several local media outlets in the Central Asian nation as reporting, on Tuesday, that Uzbekistan had cancelled concerts and other similar events. The reports said residents in the capital city of Tashkent could instead take in readings of poems by the 16th century emperor.
The nation has a long-running distaste for Valentine's Day. Last year, the nation's Turkiston newspaper described the holiday as the product of "forces with evil goals bent on putting an end to national values".
"The very atmosphere of these holidays does not foster the formation of spiritual and moral values in youth," Grigory Bolotnov, a consultant to the local government on social and religious issues, told local media, according to the Global Post. In fact, even symbols of hearts, half-hearts, red roses, and any activities promoting this day are banned by the state.
"It's the birthday of our great ancestor Mohammed Zahiriddin Babur," Abdullaw, a Tashkent resident was quoted as saying in BBC, "Why should we celebrate some artificial, lightweight event? It doesn't fit our mentality and our history."
A pop concert by local star Rayhan, which has been held every Feb. 14 for the last ten years was also cancelled along with other events.
Uzbekistan is a predominantly Muslim country, but some residents are known to celebrate the traditional Christian holiday.