Maldives takes Valentine’s Day to heart

MALE Feb 14, 2008 (LBO) – Unsigned love letters, flowers, tokens and trinkets of undying affection. This is not a page from a romantic novel, but how youngsters in the Islamic Republic of Maldives plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day celebrations and marketing gimmicks have, according to many, reached a new high this year, with everything from mobile phones ringtones, to mood candles chocolates, clothes, body scrubs, perfumes and lingerie being sold in the name of “love”.

Mobile phone operator Wataniya is offering subscribers a choice to order and deliver fresh roses to their sweethearts by simply sending a text message to a three digit number. For 50 rufiyaas, customers also get a choice of selecting between a red, pink or yellow rose, Wataniya informed in text messages sent to hundreds of customers.

City hotels in the capital island of Male are offering quiet candlelight dinners, with soft music and flowers. In a country where alcoholic drinks are out of bounds to locals for religious reasons, few restaurants are offering non-alcoholic wine to diners.

“I plan to give my girl friend some flowers, and a soft toy,” said office worker Amjad Aneese as he browsed through a clothing store trying