Spread the Love: Valentine’s Day Traditions around the World

AMORJane Austen, an English romantic novelist once wrote,

“There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.”

In Japan, for example gestures are often considered unnecessary forms of expression while the French tend to be more open when displaying gestures of love. Some cultures, like Costa Rica, who are warm in their affection, will often show endearment even to strangers.

Valentine’s Day is just one day specific to expressing love and showing affection toward your significant other. Whether you spent the day relaxing with your family, taking your significant other out for a nice dinner, going to the movies or indulging in chocolates or flowers, we hope it was a day well spent, full of love and appreciation. Let’s take a look at how other cultures might have celebrated the romantic holiday this past weekend.

Denmark

The most popular and romantic Danish Valentine’s Day custom is the giving and receiving of a “Lover’s Card.” Traditionally, lover’s cards were transparent cards that depicted an image of a person’s significant other presenting them with a gift when it was put in front of a light. Young couples write anonymous special love notes known as “gækkebrev” to their significant other, and if they guess it right, they are awarded with an Easter egg later that year.

South Africa

In South Africa, young girls celebrate by following an old-age Roman tradition, Lupercalia, in which the tradition is for young girls to pin their lover’s names on their sleeves. This is often how men learn who their secret admirers are.

South Korea

Variations of Valentine’s Day begin on February 14th in South Kora, when it is up to women to woo their men with chocolates, candies and flowers. The men return the gesture on White Day, March 14th, showering the women with chocolates, flowers and gifts! Then, a third holiday, Black Day on April 14th, is a time for singles to mourn their solidarity status by eating black bean paste noodles.

China

The Chinese Valentine’s Day, also known as the Festival of the Double 7’s, falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, this year on August 9th. Following tradition, lovers visit the Temple of Matchmaker and pray for their love and happiness and possible marriage. Singles also visit the temple and ask for their luck in love. At night, people look to the sky to watch as stars Vega and Altair come close during the star-crossed pair’s annual reunion.

No matter how you choose to express your love, don’t let Valentine’s Day be the only day you choose to show appreciation and endearment towards those who are closest to you!

HEARTS

By Kelly Sorfleet, Marketing & Communications Intern