Love is a universal language. As you know, February 14 marks a day of celebration of St. Valentine also known as the day of love, celebrated all across the US and around the world. And as usual, we know the ways to celebrate this day–––couples go on candlelit dates, giving/receiving flowers and chocolates by the loved one. But, not everyone chooses to celebrate love with roses and boxes of chocolates. What are the other ways? Scroll down to see 10 unique Valentine’s day traditions around the world.
In Argentina, people don’t celebrate Valentine’s day in just one day. They celebrate one whole week –––“Sweetness Week” or “La Semana de la Dulzura,”. Argentines celebrate sweetness week every first week of July. Lovers, family members, coworkers, and friends exchange candies for kisses by asking “a candy for a kiss.” According to The New York Times, the candy Bon o Bon helped establish the holiday week in 1989 with the advertising slogan “A Bon o Bon for a kiss.”
Germans celebrate Valentine’s day in the same way that Americans do. However, there’s something extraordinary they do on Valentine’s day. They give each other pigs. Yes, pigs as a gift! Not a full-grown, 500-pound hog, little pig-shaped trinkets, as well as chocolate pigs representing luck and lust. Along with the common gift of chocolates, Germans also exchange giant heart-shaped gingerbread cookies with romantic messages written in frosting.
We all know how women are the ones that are mostly spoiled and pampered by their partner on this lover’s day. But in Japan, Valentine’s day is all about pampering men. And while chocolate is still the preferred gift for the occasion, the quality of the chocolates represents the woman’s fondness (or lack thereof) for the man. High-quality “true feeling” chocolates (or honmei choco) are given to spouses, romantic, and would-be romantic partners, while lesser-quality “obligation” chocolate (or giri choco) is given to casual friends and colleagues. Man, a nice way to express your feelings.
While most of the world celebrates St. Valentine’s Day, Bulgarians celebrate St. Trifon Zarezan Day, or Winemakers Day, an old festivity rooted in ancient celebrations of Dionysus––the God of wine. The day is dedicated to the first labor of the year for vine-growers and winemakers by trimming the unnecessary branches on the vines at the beginning of February.
Although there has been a public dispute over which saint to honor on 14th February. Modern celebrations combine the two — celebrating romantic love right alongside wine in a match made in heaven.
5. South Africa
Along with romantic dinners, exchanging roses and chocolates, there is another unique way South Africans celebrate Valentine’s day. 14th February is also a day for South African women to literally wear their hearts on their sleeves. In a tradition dating back to the ancient Roman festival “Lupercalia”, women, and sometimes also men, write the names of their sweethearts or love interests down and pin them on their sleeves. Ain’t an excellent way to let your secret crush know that you like them?
Danes celebrate Valentine’s day in a fun way. Instead of sending roses, people send their loved one a handmade card resembling paper snowflakes called gaekkebrev. Inside each of those cards is a pressed snowdrop flower, as well as a funny love poem or riddle. The cards are signed with dots (each dot representing a letter in the name of the sender) and if the person receiving the card correctly guesses who sent it to them, they get a chocolate Easter egg from the sender that year. Ain’t this fun?
Singles know what it feels like to be alone on Valentine’s day. Every mention of Valentine’s Day feels like salt being rubbed in a wound. But this not the same if you are in Estonia during Valentine’s day. In Estonia, locals celebrate Sõbrapäev, or “Friend’s Day,” and focus on the bonds of friendship rather than on romantic love.
Chinese don’t celebrate Valentine’s day. They have another day devoted to love called Qixi, or the Seventh Night Festival. This festival is held on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month each year. According to Chinese folklore, it’s the one day of the year, two star-crossed lovers, Zhi Nu, a goddess from heaven, and Niu Lang, a mortal cow herder, are permitted to reunite thanks to a bridge of magpies.
Qixi is celebrated very differently throughout China with lanterns in Taiwan or small handcrafted gifts from women to their love interest in parts of China.
9. South Korea
The couples in South Korea celebrate the day of love on the 14th of each month. “The day of roses” is celebrated in May, “the day of kisses” is celebrated in June, “the day of hugs in December”, and single people celebrate “the black day” in April by eating black noodles.
Talking about love, how can we miss France? The epicenter of romance! It is believed that the first-ever Valentine’s Day card was originated in France, when Charles, the Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife from the prison in 1415. And the French village called “Valentine” turns into the epicenter of romance between 12th and 14th February. On this day you can see the beautiful yards, trees, and homes decorated with love cards, roses, and proposals for marriage flakes. It is probably is the most romantic Valentine’s Day tradition in the world.
How are you gonna celebrate Valentine’s day this year?