6 Unique Valentine’s Day Celebrations Around the World
Valentine’s Day is observed differently in every country around the world, but love, for the most part, stands at the center of all festivities. We thought we’d take a quick trip around the globe to share how 6 different countries celebrate this special day.
First, we travel to Rome, Italy, where Valentine’s Day first originated. It first started as part of their Spring Festival, Lupercalia, and eventually transformed into a festival of love. Valentine’s Day became closely associated with St. Valentine who was a young preacher who helped young couples banned from marriage wed and is said to have send the first letter signed “Your Valentine.” In Italy, many villages celebrate to honor Valentine as their patron saint. Large festivals are a common way to celebrate, but some villages get pretty creative with their traditions. For example, in Quero, a village in the northern province of Belluno, they bless heaps of oranges and then proceed to roll them down a hill near the church of Saint Valentine.
Photo by Skandihome Ltd
Instead of the typical Valentine’s gift of roses, friends and lovers in Denmark give each other handmade cards adorned with pressed white flowers called snowdrops.
Snowdrop flowers are also included in the tradition of admirers sending “gaekkebrev” or “joke letters." These letters, cut in creative shapes, generally include a silly poem or rhyme without the name of the sender. Instead, dots at the bottom of the page will indicate the amount of letters in the secret admirers name, encouraging the admired to guess their identity.
Photo by Odyssey
Estonia celebrates an all-inclusive day of friendship on February 14 called Sõbrapäev or “Friends Day.” This festival celebrates love between everyone: friends, family and couples. We love this inclusive approach -- they even have a "love bus" that single people can ride in the hopes of meeting someone special.
Photo by The Lovespoon Workshop
Not all festivities occur on February 14. In Wales, people celebrate the Day of San Dwynwen on January 25. This day of love, with origins dating back to the 16th century, is when lovers gift each other intricate hand-crafted wooden spoons to show their affection.
Photo by Marcela M.
Uniquely, July 1st marks the beginning of “Sweetness Week” in Argentina, a time when lovers give sweet gifts and show affection in return. The holiday started out as an advertising campaign for chocolate in the ‘80s, but quickly gained popularity to become a widely recognized tradition.
6. South Korea
Photo by Travel Triangle
And if you think a whole week sounds nice, Valentine’s Day is one of 12 “love days” in South Korea. On the 14th of each month, South Koreans celebrate different romantic occasions, such as Hug Day and Kiss Day. Valentine’s Day in February and White Day in March are the most popularly celebrated. On February 14, women traditionally give men chocolate to show their affection. On White Day, the next month, the men have a turn to give gifts in response to the women. Originally, gifts of chocolate and presents were supposed to be white (hence the name), but tradition has since expanded.
If you’re looking for a way to make this Valentine’s Day special, you could try one of these traditions from around the world. Whatever you decide to do this Valentine’s Day, we hope you have a wonderful and safe celebration with the ones you love!