15 Valentine’s Day Traditions From Different Countries Around The World
Valentine’s Day traditions vary from country to country, with some focusing on romantic gestures and others emphasizing unique activities.
Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. It provides an opportunity to express your love and affection to your partner. Although traditional celebrations include red roses, heart-shaped chocolates, and love letters, not everyone follows these customs. Read on to explore fascinating Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world.
1. Valentine’s Day Traditions in the Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic, the celebration of love is known as “The Day of Love” on May 1st instead of February 14th. Besides common gifts such as flowers or chocolates, a popular tradition among couples is to visit the statue of Czech poet Karel Hynek Macha, which is located near a grove of cherry trees. This celebration is made even more romantic as lovers exchange kisses under the cherry tree boughs, with the hope of bringing them good luck.
In England, celebrating Valentine’s Day has many variations, but one of the favored traditions is listening to the angelic voices of children singing. As a reward, they receive treats such as candy, fruit, or money. Some may even exchange Valentine buns, also known as “plum shuttles,” that are baked with ingredients such as raisins, plums, or caraway seeds to symbolize a rich harvest.
3. Valentine’s Day Traditions in France
In France, particularly Paris, Valentine’s Day is celebrated much like it is in the U.S., with couples exchanging letters, cards, and gifts. A highlight of the love celebration here is the tradition of attaching padlocks on bridges. Couples would attach a padlock to the “love lock bridge” on the Pont des Arts and throw the key into the Seine River. However, with the renovation of the bridge railings in 2015, adding new bars that made it difficult to attach locks, the locks were removed. Despite this, passionate lovers still continue to put locks on other bridges in Paris as a symbol of their love.
In Germany, couples celebrate Valentine’s Day by exchanging gifts featuring pigs as symbols of both love and desire. These gifts can include pig statues, stuffed animals, and similar items. In addition to this unique tradition, the common offerings of flowers and chocolates are also given. Ginger cookies with romantic messages are also popular in Germany during Valentine’s Day.
5. Valentine’s Day Traditions in Mexico
In Mexico, Valentine’s Day is not just for couples but for everyone to show their love and appreciation to those important in their lives. Celebrated as “Da del Amor y de la Amistad” or “Day of Love and Friendship,” this occasion provides an opportunity for people to express their gratitude through gifts, balloons, roses, and toy animals. Additionally, to commemorate the day, men in Mexico often hire mariachis to serenade their loved ones in a special way.
6. Valentine’s Day Traditions in the Philippines
In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a time for expressing love and affection for significant others, family, and friends. It is a lively occasion with many festivities, including special events, concerts, and parties. People often exchange gifts, such as flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards with each other. The government also hosts a mass wedding ceremony where hundreds of couples can tie the knot, making it a memorable day for those in a relationship. Additionally, couples in the Philippines engage in other romantic activities, such as candlelit dinners and couples’ massages.
In Japan, one of the significant Valentine’s Day traditions is for women to give chocolates to the men they love or care for. The custom of gifting chocolates on Valentine’s Day has a long history in this country. There are two types of chocolates given, “giri-choco” for coworkers and acquaintances, and “honmei-choco” for romantic partners. A month later on White Day, men are expected to give gifts to the women who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day.
Some women in Japan also choose to give themselves chocolates as a symbol of self-love and appreciation. On this special day, couples may also celebrate with a romantic date or getaway.
If you visit Japan on February 14th, you will see plenty of decorations with red and pink color schemes and heart-shaped items. Specialized items in heart shapes can also be found in restaurants and bakeries as part of the celebration.
8. Valentine’s Day Traditions in South Africa
In South Africa, Valentine’s Day is marked by the tradition of “wearing your heart on your sleeve.” This custom is derived from the Roman festival of Lupercalia. On this day, women would pin the names of their admirers or crushes on their shirtsleeves. This practice often revealed the identities of secret admirers. Along with this tradition, couples also exchange flowers and gifts as a symbol of their love, and unique festivals are held to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
9. South Korea
In South Korea, the Valentine’s Day traditions of gift-giving start on Valentine’s Day, with women gifting men chocolates, candies, and flowers to express their affection. On White Day, which is celebrated on March 14, the roles are reversed and men return the favor by gifting their significant others with chocolates, flowers, and a more substantial present. For those who are single, April 14 is the day for them. It is known as Black Day, where they gather to eat black bean paste noodles, called jajangmyeon, as a way to mourn their single status.
10. Valentine’s Day Traditions in Italy
On Valentine’s Day in Italy, couples exchange gifts and enjoy romantic meals. Baci Perugina chocolates, which feature a love message inside the foil, are a popular choice among lovers. The word “baci” in Italian means “kiss,” making the exchange of these miniature hazelnut chocolates a symbolic exchange of kisses between partners.
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Argentinians often celebrate Valentine’s Day in July instead of February. These days, people love to exchange chocolates and other sweet things and love are full in the air. Valentine’s Day in Argentina began as a commercial invention but then became Valentine’s Day nowadays.
Ghana is one of the largest countries famous for producing chocolate in the world. People in Ghana often celebrate Valentine’s Day as the national chocolate day on February 14. On this occasion, people love to join music events, restaurants, and shops that prepare Valentine’s decorations for these days.
Bulgaria also celebrates Valentine’s Day on 14 February like many countries around the world. On this special event, San Trifon Zartan is celebrated around the country as the day of winemakers. It is normal to see couples cheer each other with a glass of wine.
Spain chooses Valentine’s Day on 9th October which is also understood as the feast of Saint Dionysus. This love day is celebrated around the country by making ‘macadora’, a marzipan figurine. The figurines are made by men/boys to gift to their lovers or friends.
The day of love in Denmark also celebrates on 14 February as one of the new Denmark festivals recently. Flowers and chocolates are full all over the streets and the romantic vibe is overflowing the country. And couples exchange beautiful cards with snowdrops.
No matter what your Valentine’s Day traditions are, the essence of the holiday remains the same – to celebrate love, friendship, and gratitude. Whether you choose to spend the day with a significant other or friends, make it a memorable one with special moments and meaningful gestures. GTE Localize team wishes you a Happy Valentine’s Day filled with love and joy!
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