Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated in many parts of the world, but the traditions and customs associated with the day can vary widely depending on the culture and country. From exchanging chocolates and love letters to participating in traditional rituals and festivals, people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day in their own unique ways. In this article, we will explore some of the different Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world, including those in countries such as Japan, Italy, Mexico, and more. Whether you’re interested in learning more about how other cultures celebrate love or just looking for some inspiration for your own Valentine’s Day celebrations, read on to discover some fascinating and heartwarming customs from around the globe.
In Japan, Valentine’s Day is primarily a day for women to express their feelings to men, especially those they have romantic interest in. The giri-choco is given to colleagues, bosses, and other acquaintances as a gesture of respect, while the honmei-choco is reserved for a relationship with. The honmei-choco is usually handmade, and a lot of effort goes into preparing it. Women also give “tomochoco,” or “friendship chocolates,” to their female friends. On White Day, which is celebrated on March 14th, men are expected to return the favor by giving gifts to the women who gave them chocolates on gifts given on White Day are usually more expensive than the chocolates given on Valentine’s Day, and can include jewelry, flowers, or even electronics.
Like Japan, South Korea also has a two-part Valentine’s Day celebration. On February 14th, women give chocolates to men, but there are different types of chocolates with different meanings. The cheapest chocolates are for male coworkers, while more expensive ones are for close friends and romantic partners. On March 14th, known as White Day, men are expected to reciprocate by giving gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day. The gifts can range from chocolates and flowers to more expensive items like jewelry or clothing. In addition to Valentine’s Day and White Day, South Korea also has a third romantic holiday called Black Day, which is celebrated on April 14th. On this day, single people gather to eat “jajangmyeon,” a dish made of noodles and black bean sauce, and commiserate about being alone.
Denmark and Norway
In Denmark and Norway, Valentine’s Day is more about celebrating friendships and loved ones than it is about romantic love. This tradition is called “Valentinsdag,” or “Friendship Day,” and it involves exchanging small gifts or cards with friends and family. It is common for people to write poems or messages of appreciation for their loved ones, and many shops sell heart-shaped decorations, chocolates, and other Valentine’s Day-themed gifts.
In addition to the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like flowers and chocolates, South Africans have their own unique tradition called “Love Day.” On Love Day, women will often wear red and white dresses to symbolize their love and purity, while men will wear green and yellow to show their affection. Couples may also exchange gifts or go on romantic dates, but the focus is on celebrating love in all its forms.
In Brazil, Valentine’s Day is called “Dia dos Namorados,” which translates to “Lovers’ Day.” This holiday is celebrated on June 12th, which is the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day. Saint Anthony is known as the patron saint of marriage and love, and many Brazilians believe that finding love on this day is especially auspicious. On Lovers’ Day, couples exchange gifts and go on romantic dates, often ending with fireworks displays or other festive celebrations.
Finland and Estonia
In Finland and Estonia, Valentine’s Day is known as “Friend’s Day,” or “Ystävänpäivä” in Finnish and “Sõbrapäev” in Estonian. On this day, people exchange cards and gifts with their friends and family members to show appreciation for their love and support. The tradition is similar to Valentine’s Day in other countries, but with a greater emphasis on platonic love and friendship.
In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday for couples to exchange gifts, go on romantic dates, and express their love for one another. In addition to traditional gifts like flowers and chocolates, many Filipinos also exchange small love notes, called “harana,” which are often decorated with hearts and other symbols of love. It is also common for men to serenade their partners with songs, either in person or over the phone.
In France, Valentine’s Day is known as “la Saint-Valentin,” and it is celebrated much like it is in other countries, with flowers, chocolates, and romantic dinners. However, the French have their own unique tradition called “loterie d’amour,” or “love lottery,” which dates back to the 19th century. This involves single people gathering in a public place and calling out to one another until they have paired up. If a man is not satisfied with his match, he can leave her for another woman.
In Mexico, Valentine’s Day is known as “El Día del Amor y la Amistad,” or “Day of Love and Friendship,” and it is celebrated on February 14th. This holiday is similar to Valentine’s Day in other countries, but with a greater emphasis on showing appreciation for all types of love, not just romantic love. It is common for people to exchange small gifts or cards with friends and family members, as well as with romantic partners.
In Italy, Valentine’s Day is known as “la festa di San Valentino,” and it is celebrated much like it is in other countries, with flowers, chocolates, and romantic dinners. However, Italians also have their own unique tradition of exchanging love notes called “baci perugina.” These are small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts that come with a romantic message inside. It is said that the tradition started in Perugia, Italy, in the early 20th century when a young chocolatier started writing romantic messages to his sweetheart and hiding them inside the chocolate treats. Today, these love notes can be found all over Italy and are a popular way to express affection on Valentine’s Day.
In Spain, Valentine’s Day is known as “El Día de los Enamorados,” which means “Lovers’ Day.” On this day, couples exchange gifts and go on romantic dates, much like in other countries. However, in some regions of Spain, there is a unique tradition called “La Diada de Sant Jordi,” or “St. George’s Day.” This is celebrated on April 23rd, and it involves giving a rose and a book to loved ones. The rose symbolizes love and the book symbolizes culture and education.
In the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated much like it is in other countries, with gifts, cards, and romantic dinners. However, there are some unique traditions that have developed over the years. For example, it is common for children to exchange Valentine’s Day cards at school, and for couples to exchange “conversation hearts,” which are small, heart-shaped candies with messages written on them. Additionally, some cities hold Valentine’s Day parades or other festive events to celebrate the holiday.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Ghana as National Chocolate Day, as Ghana is one of the largest cocoa-producing countries in the world. Couples exchange chocolate as gifts, and there are various chocolate-themed events and festivals held throughout the country. Ghanaian chocolate is highly regarded for its quality, and it has become a significant export for the country. The holiday is also seen as a way to promote the consumption of Ghanaian chocolate.
Valentine’s Day in Argentina is celebrated on February 14th, but it’s not just for couples. The holiday is also known as “Sweetness Day,” and it’s a day for showing love and affection to friends, family, and coworkers. In addition to traditional gifts like chocolates and flowers, it’s also customary to exchange “alfajores,” a type of Argentine cookie that’s often filled with dulce de leche.
In Wales, Valentine’s Day is known as “Dydd Santes Dwynwen,” or “Saint Dwynwen’s Day.” The holiday is celebrated on January 25th, and it’s named after a Welsh saint who is the patron saint of lovers. On this day, couples exchange gifts and cards, and it’s also traditional to give “love spoons,” wooden spoons that are intricately carved with symbols of love and affection.
In Bulgaria, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th, but it’s not just for couples. The holiday is also known as “Trifon Zarezan,” and it’s a day for celebrating wine and vineyards. Traditionally, couples exchange gifts of wine and other alcoholic beverages, and it’s also customary to prune the vines and plant new ones as a symbol of new beginnings.
Valentine’s Day in Taiwan is celebrated on February 14th, but it’s not just for couples. The holiday is also known as “Qi Xi,” and it’s a day for celebrating love and relationships of all kinds. On this day, it’s common to exchange gifts and participate in romantic activities, such as watching a movie or going out for dinner.
In Slovenia, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on March 12th, and it’s known as “Saint Gregory’s Day.” The holiday is named after a Catholic saint who is the patron saint of love and is celebrated with traditional Slovenian foods and wine. It’s also customary to exchange small gifts and cards with loved ones on this day.
In Iran, Valentine’s Day is not officially recognized by the government, as it is considered a Western holiday that goes against Islamic beliefs. However, some people still choose to celebrate the holiday in private, and it’s common for stores to sell Valentine’s Day gifts and decorations. Additionally, some people choose to celebrate “Sepandarmazgan,” which is a traditional Iranian holiday that takes place on February 24th and is considered a day for celebrating love and kindness.
Valentine’s Day is a day of love and romance celebrated in different ways by people all over the world. From the sweetness of Japan’s handmade chocolates to the colorful festivities of Mexico’s Dia de San Valentin, each culture has its own way of expressing affection and appreciation for loved ones. While some traditions are similar to those in the United States, such as France’s romantic gift-giving and Denmark’s appreciation of friendship, others are vastly different, such as South Korea’s expectation of women to give chocolates to men or Saudi Arabia’s unofficial celebrations due to cultural and religious reasons. Regardless of the customs, Valentine’s Day serves as a reminder that love is a universal language that transcends borders and cultures.