Valentine’s traditions from around the world
Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the globe. Valentine’s Day is now celebrated by millions and is one of the retail industry’s most lucrative shopping holidays. Many different traditions can be linked to Valentine’s Day.
In Estonia, Valentine’s Day is a day more devoted to friendship than romantic love. It is called “Sõbrapäev” in Estonian, which translates to “Friend’s Day.” Cards and gifts are exchanged among friends.
Considered to be one of the most romantic countries in the world, France can be an ideal place to participate in Valentine’s Day traditions. The French have an old custom called “une loterie d’amour,” which is a drawing for love. Single men and women of all ages once entered houses that faced one another and took turns calling out to one another to find romantic matches. The men could refuse the match and leave the woman looking for another man to call on. Women who were not paired up would light a bonfire and damn the men who rejected them. The French government eventually banned the practice because of rowdy crowds.
In Wales, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated. Rather, the Welsh commemorate St. Dwynwen’s Day, who is their patron saint of lovers on January 25. It is customary to gift love-spoons, a tradition that likely stems from the practice of sailors carving intricately decorated spoons of wood and presenting them to women they were interested in courting or marrying.
In South Korea, men get to enjoy the spotlight on Valentine’s Day, as women bestow gifts of chocolate on them. In return, a month later men reciprocate with gifts for women on White Day. South Koreans take Valentine’s Day a step further on Black Day, which falls on April 14. This is an opportunity for all single people who may not have received Valentine’s Day gifts to gather at restaurants and eat a dish called “black noodles” as they celebrate their singleton status.
One unique tradition in Italy is “Luchetti dell’Amore”, or “Locks of Love”, in which couples attach locks to different structures, such as bridges, with their names inscribed and throw away the key to show that they will be together forever.
Denmark and Norway
These Scandinavian countries didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day until recently, but have now put their own spin on the traditions. Men write funny poems or rhyming love notes called Gaekkebrev and send them to women anonymously. Women must try to guess their admirers by counting dots that are put on the note that correspond to the number of letters in the man’s name.
Have you started any interesting Valentine’s Day traditions with your partner? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14?
Sweethearts who want to keep their relationships running strong know that Valentine’s Day is celebrated each year on February 14. But even the most ardent Valentine’s Day enthusiast might not know just why this day designed for lovers to express their affections for one another is celebrated in mid-February, or the bloody origins it has.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14, though the date might have ties to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia.