When it comes to Valentine’s Day, many people undoubtedly start thinking about flowers, chocolate, and heart-eye emoticons. In India, gift shops throughout the country brim with red balloons and cards in the days leading up to February 14. However, not all couples around the world exchange cards, buy chocolates or give each other gifts on Valentine’s Day. So, if that has got you curious about how the day is commemorated around the world, let’s tell you that the traditions for this romantic day differ widely from country to country.
Here’s how some countries celebrate Valentine’s Day:
In Argentina, Valentine’s Day is observed for a whole week in July, known as “Semana de la Dulzura”, or “week of sweetness”. It’s the day when lovers give and receive kisses, chocolates, and other delicacies. The holiday began as a commercial venture, but it has since evolved into Valentine’s Day tradition.
One of the most beautiful Valentine’s Day celebrations takes place in France. The first Valentine’s Day card is thought to have originated from France in 1415, when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love notes to his wife from prison. Between February 12 and 14, the French village of Valentine becomes the epicentre of romance. Beautiful yards, trees, and residences are covered with cards and roses.
Bulgaria has its own version of Valentine’s Day. The country celebrates San Trifon Zartan on February 14, which translates to “day of winemakers”. Over a glass of local wine, couples toast their love for one another.
The day of love is celebrated on the 14th of each month. While on May 14, it’s “the day of roses”, June 14 is “the day of kisses”. On December 14, it’s “the day of hugs”. Single people celebrate “the black day” on April 14 by eating black noodles.
To show their love in South Africa, women pin their significant other’s names on their sleeves. Men, albeit in small numbers, also follow this custom.
Here, on Valentine’s Day, many couples get married in a government-sponsored event. This is a gala event in the country, and one of the most magnificent Valentine’s Day celebrations around the world.
February 14 is observed as ‘National Chocolate Day’ in Ghana. It’s one of the world’s top cocoa-producing countries. So, the government decided to dedicate the day to chocolate to boost tourism.
Women in Miao, South West China, prepare a variety of coloured rice dishes to serve to male suitors. The women hide various trinkets inside the rice to communicate a message.
Here, couples celebrate their own version of Valentine’s Day on January 25. Known as the ‘day of San Dwynwen’, couples give each other elegant handcrafted wooden spoons.
In Valencia, Spain, Valentine’s Day is on October 9, when the feast of Saint Dionysus is celebrated. In most parts of Spain, the event is commemorated with men creating a marzipan figurine known as ‘macadora’ to give to their female companions.
The country celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14 in a unique way. Handmade cards with pressed white flowers, called snowdrops, are exchanged between friends and lovers on this day
Here, Valentine’s Day isn’t just about celebrating romantic love. Estonia celebrates love for all on a day known as ‘Sobrapaev’. The day entails celebrating love not just for one’s significant other, but also for family and friends.
In another unique Valentine’s Day celebration, in Japan men are the ones who receive gifts from women. They have the option to return the love on March 14, which is known as White Day.
The day is celebrated on February 24 and is a mash-up of Valentine’s Day and the celebration of spring. Many couples get engaged, and young men and women also travel to the trees to collect bright flowers, while other couples wash their cheeks with snow as a good luck symbol.
Observed on May 1, couples go on a pilgrimage to poet Karol Hynek Macha’s statue and kiss under the cherry trees for good luck.
A festival called ‘Dia dos Namorados’, also known as ‘Lovers Day’, is celebrated. Chocolates, cards, and flowers are commonly exchanged, and music festivals and dancing performances are held.