A lot of people around the world celebrate Saint Valentine, but there’s certain traditions that you may not have heard of!
For most of us, Valentine’s Day is simply a lovely, encompassing holiday for you and your loved one. Be it a crush, a partner or a relative, it’s the day to give and receive love and gifts and let your special ones know that you care.
The most recognisable way of celebrating Valentine’s Day is to gift a card or letter to your loved one, be it anonymous or not, and perhaps a box of chocolates and a present.
Valentine’s Day Traditions Around the World
However, around the world in some countries there are very different customs we may not be familiar with.
Japan: The guys get all the gifts
In parts of the world, Valentine’s Day witnesses the spoiling of women. However in Japan, it’s all about spoiling your man on this special day. Valentine’s Day provides them with a day to be comfortable and in the forefront of presenting the men in their lives with gifts and other expressions of their love.
In fact, the gift most given is chocolate. And there are various types of chocolate presents that represent different types of relationships. For example, women may give a gift known as an “obligation chocolate”, to men without any romantic interest like a boss, colleague or family member. Alternatively, there is the “favourite or true feeling chocolate”, that is specially gifted to boyfriends or husbands.
Estonia: Let’s be friends
In this country, Valentine’s Day is known as “Friend’s Day”, so that single people are not left out of the festivities. While streets may often be decorated with hearts and other Valentine’s symbols, there is also an emphasis on non-romantic love and relationships, with friends and family members also exchanging presents on the holiday.
South Korea: Valentine’s, White Day and Black Day…
Like the Japanese, women in South Korea spoil their men on Valentine’s Day. And again, like Japan, the women receive gifts on “White Day” on March 14th, from men in a similar fashion to Valentine’s Day. However, in South Korea they take it a step foward and also have “Black Day”, which lands on April 14th. This day provides opportune moments for singletons who didn’t receive any love on Valentine’s Day and White Day to meet-up with other single friends and enjoy a meal together!
Actually on Black Day, they eat something called “jajangmyeon”, which is a dish made up of white Korean noodles with a black bean sauce. Some believe the black noodles is a celebration of single life, wherease others see it as a mourning of being single.
Nevertheless the South Koreans are romantic souls, and have marked every 14th day of every month with a holiday to signify “love”; January 14th starts as Candle Day, May 14th is Rose Day, June 14th is Kiss Day…. You get the jist.
Phillippines: Mass wedding celebrations
One Valentine’s Day tradition that often reaches international headlines is the mass wedding celebration, which brings together hundreds of couples in large, open spaces across the country to be married in a colossal public ceremony.
France: Une loterie d’amour
Believed to be one of the most romantic countries in the world, France has adopted its own tradition to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This is called “une loterie d’amour”, which means drawing for love. For this, single men and women enter houses that face opposite each other and screened one another until they eventually paired off with a suited partner. Those left single, well, in the past they held huge ceremonial bonfires to throw pictures and objects of the men who rejected them… But officials shut this practice down. After all, we’ve all heard of “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!” via expatwomen.com