Soon, The Whole World Will Be Celebrating The Dawn Of A New Year… Except This Country

Religious police in country following Muslim lunar calendar warn residents against celebrating the turn of the year.

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The ultra-conservative Gulf Kingdom's religious police have warned the public against celebrating the New Year’s Eve

The Commission of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia), known unofficially as mutawa, based its warning on a religious edict from the top committee of Saudi clerics banning such celebrations.

The Commission also warned Saudi gift shops not to sell any merchandise, including flowers and dolls.
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Haia officials tour markets across the Kingdom to prevent the sale of red roses and other things used for celebrating New Year.

A Haia official said punitive measures would be taken against those who celebrate the New Year publicly.

Unlike all other Gulf states that use the Gregorian calendar, Saudi Arabia follows the Muslim lunar calendar

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Members of the commission enforce the kingdom's rule of strict segregation between sexes. They also go around shops to make sure they are shuttered during prayer times.

The religious police have been accused of abusing their powers. But since January last year, they have become more discreet with the appointment of their new chief, cleric Abdulatif bin Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, who banned the use of unmarked cars.
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Mutawa also traditionally banned the sale of red roses and gifts for Valentine's Day on February 14.

Similar warnings have been issued by Islamic groups in other countries, including in Malaysia

In Malaysia, the Malaysia International Institute of Islamic Cooperation (Ikiam) said New Year’s Eve reflected the Jewish culture and would cause Muslim youths to commit sins.

“The celebrations will have excessive entertainment, which can cause the majority of Muslim youth to let their guard down and commit a lot of sin,” Ikiam leader Datuk Mustapha Idrus said.

The warning against celebrations stand in stark contrast to preparations for New Year's in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates city state of Dubai

Dubai has promised to celebrate the night with a record-breaking extravaganza featuring more than 400,000 fireworks,
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The emirate has vowed to "break the Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Firework Display’," a government statement said.

In case you happen to be in Dubai or nearby, then CLICKING ON THIS LINK will tell you where are the best viewing sites for the display. One suggested location is Burj Khalifa the world's tallest building. You can also just stay home and watch it all on your TV.
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The show will take place over two man-made islands, The Palm Jumeriah and The World. It is set to a specially choreographed musical soundtrack and scenes designed exclusively for the event.

More than 200 pyrotechnicians are overseeing the display which will be launched from 400 locations. Each year Dubai has staged spectacular celebrations at New Years. Below is a video of the 2013 New Year celebration in Dubai.
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