10 March, 2018 8:27 pm Published by Cristi Casella

Living in a global society as we do, our jobs often take us to countries we would really never consider relocating to if we had the choice. Of course, there is always a choice if you don’t care what the repercussions would be if you refused to relocate.

Regrettably, that may not be an option, especially for upper-level management who are opening branches in other countries. If there is no way around it, you must prepare yourself for the transition to a new way of life, if only for a time. That includes understanding how some of the differences in cultural norms can quickly lead to culture shock.

Holidays Are Not the Same Around the Globe

Perhaps the pros at the relocation company you chose to facilitate the move gave you some ideas as to just how vast some of these cultural differences might be. For example, Santa Fe Relocation have their own Valentines Day guide (along with the below infographic), which might help advise you on acceptable behaviour in ultra-conservative nations. In most cases, there is nothing to worry about, but when those cultures (ours and theirs) are diametrically opposed in many ways, culture shock can be extreme. Who would think that Valentine’s Day would be something anyone could object to? Unfortunately, it is because several Muslim countries have banned celebrating this day, and hence the need for a Valentines Day guide for expats.

Pakistan Is a Vocal Leader in Banning Valentine’s Day

Of all Muslim countries that have issued a ban on celebrating Valentines Day, Pakistan is by far the most outspoken. Whether you are an expat in Pakistan or some other country that forbids its citizens to celebrate this special day of love, this Valentines Day guide should help you find ways to celebrate expat love without an obvious display those countries abhor.

Why Pakistan Banned the Celebration of Valentine’s Day

You may be wondering why Pakistan has banned the celebration of Valentine’s day. Actually, there may be a fine line between what is an acceptable practice for foreign nationals and citizens of countries like Pakistan, but would you really like to take the chance? The reason they have banned the celebration, according to sources cited on CNBC.com is that “it is against Muslim practices” and because there seems to be a misguided understanding of how Westerners celebrate the day.

Somehow, they are under the illusion that nudity and depravity are part of the celebration when in reality, it is a natural celebration of love between a man and woman who are in a relationship. Pakistan expressly forbids anyone celebrating the day because they feel this celebration is corrupting their youth. Also, public displays of fondness or romance are culturally taboo and even illegal in some places.

Keep Your Celebration Discreet

If you are in Pakistan or any other Muslim countries that have expressly forbidden public celebrations, the complete Valentines Day Guide would simply have one simple solution. Keep your celebrations discreet. Don’t order flowers on this day because it will be all too obvious what you are doing, and dine in, rather than out. It may be difficult to buy a bottle of champagne in some countries that outlaw the sale and consumption of alcohol, but you can always give a proper toast with a glass of juice or water. Whatever you do, keep it discreet and order all special festive items well in advance so as to keep your intentions under the radar.

The complete Valentines Day Guide for expats in these countries consists of one word – discretion.