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Moroccans and Valentine’s Day

Rabat – Each year, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14. It is observed in many parts of the world, and it is characterized by exchanging gifts, sending loved-ones texts, and above all reminding oneself of the importance of love in people’s lives. Both couples and singles take part in the celebration, for love means something to them.

In Morocco, so many Moroccans have their say on Valentine’s Day, particularly the educated ones. Whereas some believe in the efficacy of this celebration in that it unites people and spreads love among them, others disparage the idea, thinking that a day of celebration adds nothing to people’s romance and lives.

MWN interviewed several Moroccans about what Valentine’s Day represents to them and whether or not it is worth celebrating.

On the one hand, several Moroccans expressed a negative attitude towards Valentine’s Day, stressing that observing it is but a waste of time. “Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t believe in it,” Sarah Boutafi, a masters student told MWN. “It hasn’t changed anything in my life so far,” she explained.

“Most Moroccans do not celebrate the event; all they do is blindly imitate the West,” said Meryem, a Moroccan teacher of English. “Celebrating this sort of event is against our conservative traditions.”

“The youth of today only waste their time indulging themselves in this triviality,” a Moroccan mother of four children told MWN. “I think Moroccan youth must think about something practical and more serious that can positively affect their day to day life,” she added.

Other Moroccans, however, hailed this celebration, believing it is a golden opportunity to know their fellow citizens more deeply, to intimately identify with them, and to reunite with one another.

Rachid Acim, a young Moroccan poet and writer, has a different take about the holiday. “Valentine’s Day is a day of love par excellence. For many youths, it is a moment in which they can recall their soul-mates,” he said.

“A red rose may be evocative of love. A lovely postcard can fulfill the same purpose.” Mr. Acim added that he respects “all people’s ways of expressing love.”

“As I view it, love is not in need of a day to be expressed. All our days should be predicated on love. It’s our essence and the objective of our being,” he continued.

Abdessalam Nejjar, a teacher of science, shares nearly the same attitude towards Valentine’s Day. “Love is priceless. Any opportunity to celebrate it must be seized. Although insufficient, a day of devotion to love is better than no celebration at all. I think exchanging gifts on this day can help partners cement their emotions and strengthen their romance,” Nejjar told MWN.

For Wafae, a University teacher of English and a Ph.D candidate at Mohamed V University, she said that love is one of the magical feelings that can change a person’s life. That is why she believes that is worth celebrating this special day.

“We start hearing people talking about Valentine’s Day from the beginning of February. Some get excited and happy since they are going to live the day. Others feel frustrated because they still haven’t found a soul-mate yet and thus they pray to have one by February 14th. Let us show love to our beloved ones and cherish the day and not forget that to love is nothing, to be loved is something, to love and be loved is everything.”

In the same vein, Jamal Aglagal, a technology teacher in Sidi Ifni, praises the celebration, arguing, “at a time when divorce is on the rise, couples along with singles should think of more ways to re-kindle love in our hearts, to evince feelings openly and to get rid of the fear of uttering what are commonly the three most difficult words, ‘I love you’.”

No matter what the attitudes held towards Valentine’s Day and irrespective of whether or not a day would suffice to say the unsaid and to feel the unfelt as regards love, one thing all human beings unanimously agree on is the miracle love embodies, uniting partners’ souls and the inevitability of this universal, human feeling.

It goes without saying that no one is born to withstand or ‘ricochet’ off’ the power of this feeling. Love is inescapable. Feeling it and bonding with our lovers have always been our quest, whether we are aware of it or not. Love is above all a virtue. It is human passion. So, let us wish one another a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Edited by Benjamin Villanti

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