Another Valentine’s Day is about a week away. While most people from around the world are picking gifts (flowers, chocolate or jewelry), planning getaways or candlelit dinners, preparations in some part of the world are known to be quite different.
In Estonia and Finland, for example, the 14th of February is Friend’s Day and friendship is celebrated rather than romantic love while In Japan, it is the women who gifts men on Valentine’s day. A month later on March 14th, men can return the favour on what is known as White Day.
Take a peek below for some of the other Valentine’s Day traditions around the world
- In Bulgaria, the 14th of February is also Winemaker’s Day, so while couples do use the day to celebrate together, single people also tend to knock back a glass or two of wine.
- In Germany, pigs are a symbol of luck and lust, so are seen on cards and gifts on valentine’s day. They are often accompanied by other symbols of love, such as four-leaf clover.
- While most of England celebrates Valentine’s Day by exchanging gifts, in the county of Norfolk, a character called Jack Valentine brings gifts for children.
- In Brazil, they celebrate ‘Dia dos Namorados’ (Lover’s Day) on the 12th of June, as St Anthony’s Day is the following Day (June 13th) and is the saint of marriage. Single women perform rituals, in the hope of finding a new husband.
- A French Valentine’s Day tradition had to be banned by the government because it started to get out of hand. Single men and women used to gather around in houses that faced each other and shout across to be paired up. Men who aren’t happy with their match could leave them for another and the women who are left unmatched would gather together to burn picture of the men afterwards.
- In South Africa, women pin the names of the people they are interested in on their sleeves, in the shape of a heart.
- In Ghana, the 14th of February has been named as National Chocolates Day to promote Ghana’s contribution to chocolate making and to encourage tourism.
- In the Philippines, they hold mass wedding on Valentine’s day and hundreds of couples line up to tie the knot. The events are often Government sponsored.
- In Wales, they celebrate St. Dwynwen’s day on January 25th, who is the patron saint of lovers. It is the tradition for the men to give women gifts in form of hand carved wooden spoons.
- Valentine’s day is banned in Saudi Arabia, where public display of affections are a taboo, and punishable by the law. There is even a black market for Red roses.
- In Iraq, the people like to go all out with red symbols of Valentine’s day, with giant teddies, hearts, balloons and roses. While it is condemned by some, many iraqi couples will visit parks, or give each other gifts.
- On the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar, people in China celebrate the Qixi festival. Based on a tale of the Weaver Girl and Cowherd, who were separated on the opposite sides of the Silver River (Milky Way) as their love was not allowed. A flock of magpies would form a bridge to reunite them for one night each year.
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