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Pressured Not To, Some In Uzbekistan Celebrate Valentine's Day Anyway

Valentine's Day is not met with open arms in Uzbekistan.
Officials, who in recent years have expressed growing concern at the spread of Western traditions, asked students to sign letters promising to avoid celebrations of the holiday.
According to Fergana news agency, teachers were expected to impose harsher penalties for students who miss class on the day originally named for the Christian Saint Valentine.
And religious leaders railed against the holiday as an affront to Islam.
To test -- unscientifically -- whether the official position extends to the general population, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service asked Whatsapp users if and how they would be celebrating. The service also conducted an online poll.
About 80 percent of poll respondents said they did not expect to celebrate, and on WhatsApp, several said doing so would be anti-Islamic.
One user shared a popular meme emphasizing this point:

"I don't celebrate this foolish day," said another.

But despite the official finger-wagging, these pictures show that some Uzbeks were continuing to mark the day.

One woman sent RFE/RL's Uzbek Service a picture of fresh "pirozhak," or baked pie,
and a wad of cash.
"He only gave this [the pie]," she said. "He didn't send money."

Another user, apparently madly in love, went über romantic with his significant other.

This man, though, did not seem quite as proud of his gift.

"It's cheap, but I won't tell you how much it cost," he said.

-- RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

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