10 Valentine’s Day Traditions Around the World
Celebrating Valentine’s Day in North America is pretty synonymous with roses and chocolates (perhaps with some sparkly jewelry thrown in for good measure). But around the world, Valentine’s Day traditions vary quite a bit. Here are some interesting ways it is celebrated.
With the Olympics scheduled to take place during V-Day, athletes may adopt this interesting variation. On February 14, women kick things off by wooing their significant others with chocolate and flowers (similarly done in Japan). Then, a month later on March 14, men reciprocate and often add a gift to celebrate what is known as White Day. If you’re single throughout this love game, you can commemorate this a month later on Black Day (April 14). On this day, singles eat a bowl of black noodles.
An old tradition was for young, unmarried girls to get up before the crack of dawn to look out for the first man they would see (a.k.a. their future husband). While surely there were many young ladies perched on balconies or rooftops awaiting the sunrise, this tradition feels oddly beneficial to partners with early starts to their work days…
On February 14, South African women wear their hearts on their sleeves–literally. This tradition involves pinning the name of your crush on your sleeve, completely rendering the term “secret admirer” obsolete.
The Welsh don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day as we know it, rather they commemorate their love on January 25 by giving their sweetheart a spoon. No, no, not just any old spoon! A love spoon is usually an intricately carved wood spoon, a tradition dating back to the 17th century. Perhaps instead of a carved spoon, you can stir up some love with our mother of pearl spoons and some decadent caviar!
Typically swept up by the flurry of Carnival during February/March, Brazil doesn’t celebrate love day until June 12 (known as “Dia dos Namorados”). Though it’s named for lovers, this day also celebrates love of all kinds including family and friends who often gather for a meal.
While the traditions here tend to be similar to those in the west, one interesting cultural phenomenon is the adoption of mass weddings. Hundreds of couples gather in public areas to get married or renew their vows–surely some sort of Guinness record!
Love and friendship day (Dia de Amor y Amistad) is celebrated on September 20 and has more of an emphasis on family and friendship than lovers. What’s interesting is that this holiday was established in 1969 in an effort to stimulate the economy during the months leading up to Christmas.
Forget eHarmony. One of Ireland’s old traditions was the practice of matchmaking (and a matchmaking festival which occurs in September). While today most of the matchmaking industry has made its way online, a couple of traditional matchmakers still exist in Irish towns.
Sending loved ones little white pressed flowers (called “snowdrops”) is a common way to commemorate Valentine’s Day. But the tradition of a Valentine’s Day card is also extremely popular, often containing words of humor or poems.
Valentine’s in the States evokes thoughts of chocolate everything–chocolate cake, chocolate boxes, chocolate fondue. Since Valentine’s Day falls during the week, opting to stay home for a cozy dinner may be the ultimate way to your sweetie’s heart. Opt for our ready-to-go sets or check out these recipe ideas.