Celebrations Around the World

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we began to see stuffed animals, red roses and hundreds of boxes of chocolate everywhere around us.
However, did you ever think if this is the same way all other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day? What are the different traditions around the world?  Do all countries even celebrate or recognize a Valentine’s Day?

Not all countries celebrate in the same way, which is sometimes hard to imagine.  However, believe it or not, there are more than 10 countries that have their own traditions when comes to Valentine’s Day…. Here is a list of interesting traditions from across the globe:

  • In Japan, people switches up traditional gender roles during Valentine’s Day meaning that women are expected to give chocolate to men. Not only that but there are actually three types of chocolate:

            “Obligation chocolate” in which women have to give it to men with no romantic interest  
             (Ex: boss)
           “Ultra-obligation” in which women have to give it to someone just for the fun of exchanging gifts
             (Ex: co worker)
           “Favorite feeling” in which women give it to her husband or boyfriend

  • In England, an old tradition single women used to do in Valentine’s Day was pinning five bay leaves to the sides of her pillow and one in the middle in order to dream about her future husband. And they also have to say “Good Valentine, be kind to me. In dreams, let me my true love see.”

(Another part in England called Norfolk; they actually have “Santa Clause” for Valentine’s Day but instead they call him “Jack Valentine”. As a result, on Valentine’s Eve, Jack Valentine knocks on peoples’ houses and leaves treats and candies for little kids.)

  • In Brazil, they have the same traditions as the United States but you also can exchange gifts with your friend, relatives and colleagues. On the other hand, it is celebrated on June 12th not February.
  • Egypt shares the same traditions as the United States but celebrates Valentine’s Day on November 4th.
  • In Philippines, people not only celebrate Valentine’s Day but thousands of people tend to get married on this day too or renew their vows. They also don’t care where to get married because most of them get married at malls or public places.
  • In South Africa, young women have to pin the name of their husband or boyfriend on their sleeves for the whole day.
  • In China, instead of exchanging chocolate to each other, young women exchange melons and some other fruits in order to find the right husband. However, if they already found their other half, then they pray together asking for more happiness and love in their lives together.
  • In France, they used to have a somewhat of “speed dating” for women and men who are single. But men who were unsatisfied with a woman were able to just leave her and look for another one. Eventually at the end of the day, all women who didn’t have a match would go to a bonfire and burn pictures of men who refused to go out with them. ( It’s been banned)
  • In Denmark, instead of exchanging red flowers and roses, people exchange white flowers called “snowdrops.” Another tradition Denmark has is men sending funny poems and letters to women without signing their names and the women have to guess the sender. If they guessed the sender right, they get a present in Easter
  • In Slovenia, it is believed that this the day in which plants start to grow because St.Valentine brings keys to all the roots. As s result, most people have to work on Valentine’s Day.
  • In South Korea, people who didn’t receive anything in Valentine’s Day go to different restaurants to eat black noodles to mourn for their single life.
  • In Finland, people celebrate friendship instead of love and it is called “Friend’s Day”

There are different traditions of celebrating Valentine’s Day, but some countries like Malaysia, Iran, Russia, Indonesia, and Pakistan don’t celebrate it at all.

The next time you celebrate Valentine’s Day, keep in mind what other people from different countries are doing!

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