Valentine’s Day is the day that love is celebrated. With the special day just around the corner, many of us will either be rushing to book a romantic dinner and/or a romantic getaway with our partners, or be celebrating “single status” by having a few drinks with our friends. While many of us are accustomed to spending Valentine’s Day with flowers, chocolates and stuffed toys, but certain countries celebrate Valentine’s Day a bit differently.
The Danish aren’t too fond of celebrating Valentine’s Day in the traditional exchange of red roses. A famous Danish way is to exchange “lover’s card”, i.e. a transparent card showing a picture of the card giver presenting a gift to his/her valentine. Another quirky tradition is whereby men present a women a gaekkebrev, i.e. a "joking letter" consisting of a funny poem or rhyme written on intricately cut paper and signed only with anonymous dots. The letter doesn’t have a name on it and if a woman who receives the gaekkebrev can correctly guess the sender, she earns herself an Easter egg later that year.
Germans celebrate this special day with a twist. Instead of offering flowers, chocolates, etc, Germans present little pigs to their Valentine! The most common gift with little pigs are statues of little pigs offering flowers. The little pigs symbolizes luck and lust. Another common Valentine gift is a giant heart-shaped ginger cookie decorated in frosting and with short love messages written on them.
The Japanese must really love Valentine’s Day so much that they celebrate it twice! On 14th February, women present dark chocolates to their valentine, and it must be hand-made. In return, men must present white chocolates to their valentine on 14th March and this day is known as the “White Day”.
The Brazilians are always known to doing things differently. In Brazil, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated on 14th February. Instead, its celebrated on 12th June, and its known as Dia dos Namorados, or "Lovers' Day”. 12th June is a day filled with exchanges of chocolates, flowers, as well as music festivals and performances. Another famous tradition is for men and women to write down the names of their crushes, put them in a hat, and pick one name in random. The chosen name supposedly indicates whom you should marry!
In China, Valentine’s Day is known as Qixi Festival, which means “The Night of Seven”. It is celebrated in early August on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month. During Qixi, young women prepare melons and other fruits for Zhinu, the ancient goddess of love, hoping that the goddess would hear their intentions.
Generally, Philippines celebrates Valentine’s Day similar to the Western countries. The only exception is that many Filipinos prefer to tie the knot on Valentine’s Day, leading to a mass marriage ceremony. Safe to say, these newlyweds would find it extremely hard to forget their wedding anniversary!
7) South Africa
Flowers, festivals, and tokens of gifts. Nothing peculiar about this especially on Valentine’s Day. In addition to that, women tend to wear their hearts of their sleeves on Valentine’s Day (not literally). On 14th February, women pin their names of their love interest on their shirt sleeves. For the men, this makes it really easy to know if a girl has a crush on them or is in love with them. This act has origins dating back to the ancient Roman times, in a tradition known as Lupercalia.
The Welsh don’t celebrate Saint Valentine. Instead, they celebrate Saint Dwynwen, a Welsh patrons saint lover. This celebration is held on 25th January. Traditionally, the Welsh exchanges gifts in the form of love spoons. The Welsh men would carve intricate wooden spoons as a token of affection for the women they loved. Each love spoon would have different patterns and symbols, each with its own specific meaning.
This article was contributed by Tarminder Singh.
Tarminder is a fitness enthusiast and believes that one can achieve anything in life with great passion and character. A Subang boy with a dream that his boyhood club Liverpool can win the Premier League within his lifetime.