January is coming to an end and we will soon enter the month of February. Also dubbed the month of love as in preparation, stores are decked in red and pink to gear up for Valentine’s day. Valentine’s day that is generally acknowledged as the day of love is normally associated with flowers and chocolates.
But little do people know that its celebration is also interpreted differently around the world. Moreover, the celebration of love in many countries is not limited to February 14. Below are the many ways love is celebrated around the world.
While the Western culture influences Valentine’s celebration around the world to be marked by gift giving to loved ones, Japan doesn’t completely adapt it. In Japanese culture, on Valentine’s day women hand out Giri Choco, or chocolate gifted with no romantic association but rather social obligation to male acquaintances or co-workers.
For male they have romantic interest in, the gift is normally accompanied by small handmade presents. However, the tradition doesn’t end there. A month later, on March 14 the men are obliged to return the favor by handing gifts back on what is called “White Day”.
The usual tradition containing chocolate and flowers are also prominent in South African culture. However the women add a twist to it by taking the saying to wear one’s heart on their sleeves literally by writing the name of their love interest and pinning it on their sleeves.
This too is the way in which men will learn about their secret admirers. It is said that this custom is derived from ancient Roman practice called Lupercalia.
Celebration of love in Romania is done on February 24 and called Dragobete or “the day the birds are betrothed”. This day not only celebrates love but also greets the coming of spring. In Romanian culture both men and women wash their face in snow that is believed to grant health and happiness while some venture into the woods to pick flowers. Straight out of a romantic fairytale indeed!
Love in Argentina is not only celebrated for a day but for an entire week, also known as Sweetness Week that fall on July. For an entire week kisses are exchanged for sweets.
This tradition however is not rooted in the Argentinian culture but was initially an advertising campaign by the confectionary brand Arcor. However overtime this custom has developed from a marketing move to a gesture that encourages sweetness towards those around us.
Romanticism is perhaps ingrained in the French culture, however there is a Valentine’s tradition with a slightly less romantic twist, called Loterie d’amour or “drawing for love”. In this celebration, single men and women would fill houses facing each other where the men would pick the women they are interested in.
The women who are not fortunate enough to find a match in the event will burn pictures of the men and hurling insults at them. As expected, this tradition doesn’t always go civil to the point where the government had to be involved.