This one’s for all the lovers – the ones who look forward to 14th February every year so that they can bask in the romance of it all. Whether you have a sweetheart this year or not, you might find a little inspiration in how Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world.
It’s been said that love is a dangerous game, so employ these techniques at your own risk. Some may not translate across
cultural boundaries, but nonetheless, it’s interesting to gain inspiration from other countries.
The exact origins of Valentine’s Day are unclear. The most famous legend say the Saint Valentine was a priest who performed weddings for Roman soldiers after the Emperor outlawed marriage among their ranks. Once he was discovered he was sent to a tragic end.
Whether this legend has any basis in the truth is anyone’s guess. But it remains that many countries still celebrate
Valentine’s Day in some shape or form today–even if it is with their own unique traditions of “day of love”. So stop and smell the roses, as we run through the 10 Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world.
The Dia de los Enamorados (Valentine’s Day) in Argentina is a fairly low key affair – certainly not as big as it is in the UK or the US. A couple might have a romantic dinner or celebration by spending quality time together, but the real answer to Valentine’s Day takes place on “Sweetness Week” or “Semana de la Dulzuara” on the 1-7 of July.
Many people accuse Valentine’s Day of being manufactured by corporations to sell more products, and in Argentina’s case that is actually true. This week-long tradition started out as a single day, but their largest sweet manufacturer and the association of candy distributors inspired people enough to make it longer. Luckily, candy is not too expensive so it should only take a small transfer to make sure your sweetheart gets their fill!
Lovers of this tradition will often exchange sweets for a kiss with one another. Best not to wear much lipstick during this week as it’s bound to get smudged.
In the past, France used to celebrate Valentine’s Day with “une loterie de’amour,” or “a lottery of love.” The aim was to pair up single men and women in a matchmaking game. Men looking for a partner would be on one side of the street, and women would be on the other. They would then call out tone another through the window to be set up on a date.
Now Valentine’s Day in France revolves around giving gifts. French florists make a week’s worth of turnover in a single day on Valentine’s, with 80% of their sales being roses. So your sweetheart is just one transfer away from receiving a beautiful bouquet!
Valentine’s Day was first introduced in Japan by 1930’s confectionery adverts. Although the holiday is relatively new in Japan, the Japanese still celebrate it with a unique twist.
It’s expected that ladies are the ones who have to give chocolates to their sweethearts. The type of chocolate given depends on the recipient. There are different kinds for your romantic partner, bosses, female friends or even for yourself as a treat.
This may sound a little one-sided, but don’t worry – men get in on the fun too, a month later. Their festivities are called “White Day” on 14 March. Better late than never, right? Men are expected to give gifts worth three times the value of the chocolates they were given on Valentine’s so it might just be worth the wait!
Slovenia has two official holidays dedicated to love and romance. The first, Valentine’s Day, is marked by the locals as the first day to work in the fields. Tradition dictates that this is a great time of new growth, as plants begin to sprout on this day and birds of the fields propose to each other.
The other day dedicated to romance is Slovenia is St. Gregory’s Day or “Gregorjevo”. Legend has it that St. Gregory tossed a lamp into a body of water, which caused the days to grow longer and lighter for the rest of the year. In honour of this tradition, children in Slovenia now build boats to float down rivers.
Valentine’s Day in Ghana is all about chocolate! Sure, they have the usual fare – teddy bears, flowers and red clothing – but chocolate takes center stage. Since 2007, Ghana has celebrated Valentine’s Day as National Chocolate Day, which is fitting since the country is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world. The hope behind this national day was to increase tourism to the country and promote use of their cocoa products.
On 14 February, you can attend performances; music events and restaurant Continued on will have themed menus for the special day. So whether you’re sending for your beloved to enjoy a sweet treat or something even more special, WorldRemit has got you covered.
In Bulgaria, Valentine’s Day overlaps with another traditional Bulgarian celebration – Trifon Zarezan. This celebration is dedicated to Bulgarian winegrowers, innkeepers and gardeners. The holiday is in honour of a famous healer, Saint Trifon. The tradition involves food, with freshly baked bread loaves plus chicken stuffed with rice and bulgur wheat. Food and a jar of wine is then taken to the vineyard where a “fertility rite” is performed and wine is poured on the ground. The “King of the Vineyard” is then chosen and they are covered with wreaths.
However, it should be noted that this is a very old tradition, and now it’s more common for people to gather with friends for a drink. Since these two holidays happen at the same time, there’s fun for everyone – couples can go for a romantic meal while friends can go to the pub! Either way, a money transfer will make sure their romantic holiday is extra special.
Traditionally, Wales celebrates their unique day of love on the 25th January with the “St. Dwynwen’s Fay.” Saint Dwynewn was a fourth-century Welsh princess who was very unlucky in love, so she became a nun. She then would pray that other people would find romance more easily than she did. Now she is the Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers.
St. Dwywne’s Day is similar to Valentine’s Day in that it is centered around love. People exchange cards and gifts, as well as spending time with their loved ones.
One tradition that dates back to the 16th century is when people would give each other hand-carved wooden spoons. Its origins are thought to be from Wales’ maritime history when sailors would carve these ornate gifts during their long voyages at sea. You can still purchase these “lovespoons” today and they are considered to highly sentimental gifts. So choose wisely and send your sweetheart just enough to get their “lovespoon” with a WorldRemit money transfer.
Colombia is another country that has a unique approach to Valentine’s Day. Dia de Amor Y Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship) is celebrated on the third Saturday of September every year in Colombia. As you’re walking down the streets of Colombia’s cities around this time, you may see many hearts placed in the windows of shops and bars.
Dia de Amor y Amistad was originally inspired by Valentine’s Day, but the day moved to September because Colombia has no other national holidays during that month. The idea was that merchants could sell more chocolate and roses in what would have otherwise been a dead period for sales.
The traditions on this day are very similar to Valentine’s Day. Think: chocolates, rose, and romantic dinners. All of which can be covered by a quick money transfer from us. Other Latin American countries like Bolivia, Brazil also have similar days on 23 July and 12 June, respectively.
Although it’s a relatively new holiday for the country, Germany does celebrate Valentine’s Day or Valentinstag, as they call it. You’ll find all the usual fare like cards and chocolates. However, it should be noted that it is mostly a holiday for adults and is not celebrated by children at all.
If you’re an animal lover, you may also be delighted to find that many of these gifts and cards are emblazoned with little pigs on the front of them. Or, if you have more of a sweet tooth, you may enjoy the large, heart-shaped gingerbread cookies that have messages of love written out in their frosting. Receiving one of these from your beloved is a classic Valentine’s Day tradition.
Valentine’s Day falls during carnival season in Spain. While it is celebrated in this country, their main day dedicated to love comes much later in the year. In particular for the people of Valencia, who celebrate the Day of Saint Denis on the 9 of October. Saint Denis is the patron saint of lovers in Valencia.
This day is a public holiday that’s marked by many festivities and colourful costume parades in the main plaza of every town and village throughout the region. One of the customs during these festivities is to give Mocadora, silken scarfs containing marzipan pastries.