Dubai: Valentine’s Day is often said to be a marketing ploy for chocolate and card companies. Couples fret months in advance over finding the perfect gift. Gulf News contacted couples in the UAE to see how they celebrate and spend for the day.
25-year-old American Julie Rebecca Schupp and 27-year-old Jordanian Mohammad Haroun Ahmad Al Halabi are newly wedded. Julie is a kindergarten teacher while Mohammad is a physical trainer. They told Gulf News that they often like to plan something special together, usually a nice quiet dinner after exchanging gifts.
This Valentine’s Day follows a very special one that the couple celebrated the previous year. She said: “Last year we bought our wedding rings on Valentine’s Day. We both ended up shelling out a lot that year.”
Typically Schupp says that Mohammad spends around Dh500 on Valentine’s Day. She said: “I usually spend a lot less.” This year they’re planning on going to a Middle Eastern restaurant for dinner after exchanging gifts.
Marie Patterson, a teacher, is originally from Peurto Rico and Texan Tony Patterson, is the principal of Al Wahda School in Sharjah. They tend to make Valentine’s Day a family event.
Patterson said: “My two daughters and I decorate the house together with hearts and decorations. We also bake a strawberry cake.”
She said that she likes to make the children feel included and they’re given presents on the day, too. “The girls also make a card together for their father,” she added.
The couple also take time apart and have dinner together. “This year we’re thinking of going to a restaurant in Dubai. We both really love ethnic foods, and Indian food is one of our favourites,” she said.
The most Patterson has spent on Valentine’s Day for her husband is Dh400 on personal items like shirts and colognes. However, their average cost for Valentine’s Day celebrations including the decorations and cake come to Dh100 every year.
The writer is a trainee with Gulf News