Valentine’s Day Around the World

Valentine's Day Around the World

Isadora Colpo, Staff Reporter

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that is annually celebrated with chocolates, roses, and romantic dinners – in the United States, at least. Around the world, Valentine’s Day and other romantic holidays are observed with slightly different traditions.

  • Denmark: Valentine’s Day has only been celebrated in Denmark since the 1990s, but it has already become common to exchange pressed snowdrops, which are small white flowers, and for men to anonymously give women gaekkebrev, which are funny poems written on nice paper.
  • France: Known as the country of love, French citizens used to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a “drawing for love.” Men and women would go to separate houses and call out for each other. At the end of the night, the women left unmatched would have a bonfire where they would insult and burn pictures of the men that wronged them — however, some parties got too rowdy, and the tradition was banned by the French government.
  • Wales: Rather than celebrating Valentine’s Day, the Welsh celebrate the feast day of Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. On January 25th, men give their love interests spoons with romantic symbols and patterns carved in the handles.
  • Norfolk, England: Children in Norfolk celebrate Valentine’s Day with gifts that they get from Jack Valentine, who acts like Santa Claus. On Valentine’s Day, Jack Valentine leaves children chocolates and small gifts outside their doors.
  • Philippines: While people in the Philippines celebrate Valentine’s Day much like Americans do, it has become very popular to get married on the holiday. Every year, couples flock to public areas to get married on February 14th where everyone can see them.
  • Italy: Romantic dinners are common ways that people in Italy spend Valentine’s Day, and flowers are a popular gift. One unique gift is Baci Perugunia, chocolate-covered hazelnuts that are wrapped in paper that has romantic sayings written in four languages on it.
  • Brazil: Brazil’s romantic holiday is Dia dos Namorandos, Lovers’ Day, celebrated on June 12th with music festivals held all over the country. The day after is the feast day of Saint Anthony, where single women perform rituals in hopes that the patron saint of marriage will bring them a husband.
  • Finland: Valentine’s Day is a popular day to get married in Finland, but most people choose to celebrate the holiday as Friend’s Day, called “Ystävän Päivä” in Finnish. People often exchange cards saying “Happy Friend’s Day” and take special time to enjoy the holiday with their close friends.
  • Japan: It is tradition for a woman to give the men in her life some kind of chocolate — obligation chocolate, which is given to men who she is not romantically interested in, super-obligation chocolate, which is given to men she doesn’t like, or true-feeling chocolate, which is given to the man that she truly cares about. On March 14th, men must return these gifts with chocolates of their own for the holiday of White Day.
  • Slovenia: February 14th is often regarded as the day that spring begins in Slovenia, and so it is considered lucky to begin working in the fields on that day. However, it is also believed that February 14th is the day that the birds of the field propose to and marry their sweethearts.

These are only a few examples of unique holidays centered around love. People across the globe, no matter what country they live in, have special people in their lives, and everyone finds a different way to celebrate them. What’s your favorite part about Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments below.

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