Valentine’s Day Traditions From Around The World
Valentine’s Day is only a day away and here in the One4all HQ we’re rushing to stores to pick up boxes of chocolates, beautiful bouquets and cute teddy bears to give to our loved ones. However, not every country celebrates February 14th by gifting heart-shaped sweets and cheesy greeting cards.
Here, we look at how this day is celebrated around the world.
Wales – Love Spoons
A tradition that dates back as early as the 17th century, the Welsh Love Spoon is an intricately carved wooden spoon gifted by men as a token of affection for the women they loved. Patterns and symbols were carved into these love spoons and each had a different meaning, for example horseshoes which stand for good luck, wheels which symbolise support, and keys which symbolise the keys to a man’s heart.
Love spoons are also exchanged for celebrations such as weddings, anniversaries and births.
Denmark – Gaekkebrev
In Denmark, instead of greeting cards with sweet messages, men give their loved ones gaekkebrev, a ‘’joking letter’ consisting of a funny poem or rhyme written on intricately cut paper and signed by sender with anonymous dots. If the woman who receives the gaekkebrev can correctly guess the sender, she earns herself an Easter egg later that year.
Also, roses aren’t the flower of choice, instead friends and sweethearts exchange pressed white flowers called snowdrops.
France – Loterie D’Amour
Considered one of the most romantic destinations in the world, it’s been said that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. Today, cards filled with loving messages remain a popular Valentine’s Day tradition in the country.
Another traditional Valentine’s Day event in the land of love was the loterie d’amour, or ‘drawing for love’. Men and women would fill houses that faced one another and then take turns calling out to one another and pairing off. Men who weren’t satisfied with their match could simply leave a woman for another. The women left unmatched would then gather at a bonfire where they would burn pictures of the men who wronged them and hurl swears and insults and the opposite sex.
England – Bay Leaves
On the eve of Valentine’s Day, women in England would place five bay leaves on their pillows, one at each corner and one in the centre, to bring dreams of their future husbands. Alternatively, they would wet bay leaves with rosewater and place them across their pillows.
The Philippines – Weddings En Masse
While Valentine’s Day traditions in the Philippines are similar to celebrations in the UK, one tradition has swept the country in recent years – couples sharing a wedding day. Hundreds of couples gather in public areas around the country to get married or renew their vows en masse.
In 2012, more than 2,000 couple tied the knot or renewed their vows on Valentine’s Day. That figure doubled in 2013 and has continued to rise.
South Korea – Jajangmyeon
Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday for young couples in South Korea and is celebrated monthly from February through April. The gift-giving starts on February 14th with women giving their men chocolates, sweets and flowers. On March 14th, a holiday known as White Day, it’s the men’s turn to woo the women with gifts.
For those who don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, April 14th, known as Black Day, is the day for them. Singles eat dark bowls of jajangmyeon, or black bean-paste noodles as they mourn their solitary status.
Japan – Honmei Choco
In Japan, women gift different kinds of chocolate to husbands, boyfriends and prospective boyfriends.
- Honmei Choco is ‘true feeling’ chocolate and is given to a ‘true love’.
- Giri Choco is gifted to a man with whom the woman has no romantic connection, for example, a boss, colleague or close male friend.
- Cho-Giri Choco is pity chocolate and is given to a man who the woman feels sympathy for.