Valentine’s Day Traditions From Around the World
Living in the States we all know what comes to mind when I say Valentine’s day. Chocolates, a fat baby with wings, cards of love, and chalky hearts. But like I said that’s just for those of us in the States. What about those around the world? What comes to mind when you ask someone in Korea or Argentina about the holiday of love? Well let’s take a trip around the world and find out.
In the country of Argentina love doesn’t just get a day, it gets a whole week. In the month of July there is an entire week for couples to express their love in sweet ways.
In South Africa women sew or pin a heart with their love interest’s or sweet heart’s name on their sleeves. They quite literally wear their hearts on their sleeve’s.
In Bulgaria wine is the drink of love. Couples celebrate their love with glasses of wine.
In South Korea, much like Argentina, there is more than one day for love. In South Korea there is a couple day on the 14th of every month, including Valentine’s day in February. But in a reverse from American tradition women give men gifts on February 14. The men then reciprocate on March 14 or White Day. On these couple’s days a single pringle celebrates something called Black Day. During a Black Day celebration singles gather and eat black colored foods, usually jajangmyeon or black bean paste noodles.
In Valencia, Spain the day of love is celebrated on October 9th. This day celebrates Saint Dianysius, their saint of love. On this day men offer women a treat called macadora.
While Valentine’s Day in the Philippines looks similar to that in America there is a marked difference. On the day of love couples gather en mass and don’t just celebrate their love they legalize it. Hundreds or even thousands of couples gather in areas and hold mass wedding on Valentine’s Day in the Philippines.
In the Czech Republic couple’s celebrate their love on May first by making a pilgrimage to the statue of Karel Hynek Macha in Petrin Park.
Estonia & Finland
In both Estonia and Finland February is a day of love, but a day of all love. This day is translated into Friendship Day and celebrates the love between not only couples but also friends and family.
Valentine’s Day in Japan is very similar to that of South Korea, whereas the women give the men gifts. Then on March 14th, just like in South Korea, the men can reciprocate with gifts for White Day.
Denmark & Norway
In Denmark and Norway Valentine’s Day cards look a bit different. Instead cards full of sweetness and flowers men give women a joking letter. This letter contains a funny poem or rhyme and is signed anonymous. If the woman guesses the sender correctly then he will give her an Easter egg later in the year but if she guesses wrong she gives him an Easter egg.
France, containing the city of love, has a very unique tradition called drawing for love. On this day men and women fill up houses that face each other. They then take turns calling out to each other to pair off. If the man does not like the pairing he can leave for another woman. The women who are left unmatched then gather for a bonfire where they burn pictures of the men who have wronged them and yell profanity at the opposite sex.
The Welsh celebrate their patron saint of love, Saint Dwynwen, on January 25th. On this day men gift women with spoons they have carved with symbols that signify their love and relationship.
In China Qixi is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar year. During this celebration women make offerings of carved melons and fruit to Zhinu, a heavenly King’s daughter, in hopes of finding a good match. Zhinu is a daughter of the heavenly King who fell for a poor cowherd and had children. The King returned Zhinu to the stars but allows her to meet her husband once a year on Qixi. So at night couples go star-gazing to watch the star-crossed couple of lore come together in the night sky. In China love seekers also visit matchmaking statues in temples and couples go to temples to pray for happiness.
In this area of South West China women cook colorful rice dishes and hide things inside. These dishes are then offered to suitors and their relationships depend on what is inside; i.e two chopsticks means love but a finding a clove of garlic means the love is over.
Parts of England have two interesting traditions for Valentine’s Day. In some parts women place bay leaves on their pillows to dream of their future husbands. In other parts of England a being called Jack Valentine fulfills much the same role as Santa Claus but gives gifts of chocolate and candies on the day of love.
Women in Italy are very early risers on Valentine’s day. In Italy it is believed that the first man you see on this day is the man, or resembles the man, you will marry.
In Brazil Lovers Day, or Bia Dos Namorados, is celebrated June 12th. On this day there are festivities such as gift exchanges and performances. The day after, June 13th, is Saint Anthony’s Day on which women perform simpatias rituals to honor the patron saint of marriage.
In Romania love and spring are both celebrated on February 24th. During Dragobete young couples go out into the forest to pick flowers.
In Germany love is celebrated by literally pigging out. Statues of pigs are combined with flowers and gifts for loved ones.