If you thought Valentine’s Day is about chocolates, stuffed toys, and flowers, you should think again. Different traditions around Valentine’s Day celebrations have evolved over the years and each of them is unique in their own ways. While greeting cards and candy hearts might flood the store and dominate your imagination, there are umpteen other things that guys and girls do for their Valentine.
As many say, Denmark celebrates Valentine’s Day with a ‘Danish Twist’. It is rightly so because you won’t find them gifting red roses to their sweethearts. Instead, they exchange pressed white flowers called snowdrops. On February 14, men give women a “joking letter” with a funny poem. The identity of the sender is kept hidden. If the woman, who receives the letter, can correctly guess the sender, she earns an Easter egg later in the year.
The euphoria over Valentine’s Day is not a one-day affair for the young couples in South Korea. According to traditions, women woo their men with gifts on February 14. A month later, it is customary for men to celebrate White Day when they not only give chocolates and flowers to their darlings, but also shower them with gifts. What’s unique to South Korea is the Black Day – an extension of the White Day. On April 14, single men and women mourn their solitary status by eating black bean paste noodles. Now that’s a different way of mourning!
In the earlier days, the Italians used to celebrate Valentine’s Day as the Spring Festival wherein the young lovers would host poetry reading sessions in gardens and enjoy music before taking a walk with their beloved. The contemporary Italians do almost everything that you would find people in the US are doing. The unique thing about the Valentine’s Day in Italy is the gift that lovers give to each other. For them, the best way to ask ‘Will you be my Valentine’ is to gift that special person a chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped with a romantic saying printed in four languages.
Brazilians celebrate Valentine’s Day on June 12 and they also give it a different name: Dia dos Namorados or Lovers’ Day. Interestingly, the tradition of exchanging cards, chocolates, and flowers is not limited to couples. Gifts are exchanged and dinner is shared with friends and kin as well. The next is observed as the Saint Anthony’s Day. It is held to honor the patron saint of marriage. On this day, single women are seen performing rituals in hopes that St. Anthony will bring them a husband.
Have you ever thought of wearing your hearts on your sleeves? You would probably say yes if you are from South Africa. The country celebrates Valentine’s Day with much fervor like many other countries but what makes them different is the tradition of women wearing their hearts on their sleeves on February 14. Like an ancient Roman tradition, women pin the names of their love interest on their shirtsleeves. That’s a hint for the men to know who their secret admirers are.
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