FEATURE – Flowers, cards, chocolates, romantic dinners. Valentine’s Day is filled with this and more as couples – and giddy retailers – observe the Feb. 14 holiday. Have you ever wondered how other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day? Or even if they have their own variation of it?
Below are five countries with their own takes on the holiday for the love-struck.
Japan – Life is like a box of chocolates
Valentine’s Day in Japan sees women giving chocolates to men. There are two types of chocolates given too, according to the Only in Japan website. One type is given to friends, co-workers, and close male friends and has no romantic connotation attached. The chocolates meant for a significant other tend to be homemade, as giving store-bought chocolates in this case isn’t seen as a sign of true love.
The men return the favor on March 14, also known as “White Day.” The color of the chocolate given tends to be white and tends to be given along with traditional Valentine’s Day gifts like flowers, candies and so forth.
This should be adopted in the United States for men who forget about Valentine’s Day to have a chance to redeem themselves.
South Korea – Reminding you of how single you are
Similar to Japan, South Koreans observe Feb. 14 with women giving chocolate and gifts to the men, with the tables turning on March 14 when the men do the same for the women. However, there’s a day in April devoted to the sadly single.
April 14, or “Black Day,” is observed by singles drowning their sorrows of solo status in a dark bowl of noodles covered in a black-bean paste sauce called “jajangmyeon.”
South Africa – When subtlety just isn’t enough
Tradition in South Africa has women wearing their hearts on their sleeves.
Derived from the ancient Roman tradition of Lupercalia, the women will pin the names of their crush on their sleeves for all the world to see.
Not a bad idea when the crush in question doesn’t pick up on subtle hints.
Brazil – Let a patron saint help you out
Brazil has Dia dos Namorados, or “Lover’s Day” on June 12 with flowers, chocolates, cards and festivities. Not so dissimilar to the American Valentine’s Day, which Brazilians skip in favor of Carnival taking place at that time.
Lover’s Day is followed by St. Anthony’s Day, a day on which single women perform rituals called “simpatias” to appeal to the patron saint of marriage to help them find a husband.
Depending on the circumstances, Saint Anthony might recommend giving the South African tradition a try.
Wales – The gift of spooning
The Welsh equivalent of Valentine’s Day is St. Dwynwen’s Day and is observed Jan. 25. A custom tied to this day involves young men carving ornate wooden spoons and offering them as a gift to girls they love, according to the Welsh Love Spoons website.
While gifts of sweets and the like to a young lady weren’t out of the question, historically, the ornate spoon, carved by the love-struck male admirer, was considered a far more personal gift. If the girl was interested and accepted the gift, a relationship commenced.
According to Welsh Love Spoons, this is where the term ‘spooning’ originated.
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