Valentine’s day, the most romantic day of the year and the perfect opportunity to spoil your other half if you are lucky enough to have a special someone. Love or hate this soppy holiday, it gives us a great excuse to shower our loved ones with gifts and remind them that we care about them. To celebrate the day, we’ve decided to take a look at how different countries celebrate their version of Valentine’s day and the traditions that come along with it.
Rather than celebrating Saint Valentine, the Welsh like to celebrate Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, with the holiday taking place on January 25th. Dwynwen was a 4th century princess who was unlucky in love, so she decided to become a nun and pray that true lovers would have better luck than she did. Much like Valentine’s day, people exchange gifts and cards with each other as well as love spoons, which were traditionally carved by men as a token of affection for the women they loved.
In Japan, the roles are reversed on Valentine’s day and the men are gifted chocolate by the women. They are, however, expected to return the favour one month later on ‘White Day’ which takes place on March 14th.
On Valentine’s day in South Africa, it’s customary for women to attach the name of their crush onto their sleeve for the whole world to see, quite literally wearing their heart on their sleeve!
The Chinese version of Valentine’s day is known as Qixi, and takes place on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese calendar. The day originates from an ancient tale of two star crossed lovers, one a heavenly king’s daughter, and the other a poor cowherd, who were forced to separate due to their difference in statuses. When the king heard the cries of the cowherd Niulang upon the separation, he allowed the pair to meet once a year on the day now known as Qixi. On this day, young women offer up fruit to the king in the hopes of finding a good husband, whilst couples pray for prosperity.
English women used to place 5 bay leaves on their pillows on the eve of St. Valentine’s day in the hopes that their future husband would appear in their dreams. Alternatively, they would sprinkle bay leaves with rosewater and strew them across their pillows.
Valentine’s day is so popular in the Philippines that mass weddings have become a common event on the day, with hundreds, or even thousands, of couples choosing to tie the knot in unison. The ceremonies take place in public areas and are often funded by the government as an act of public service.
Valentine’s day, or variations of it, is celebrated on a monthly basis by some of the more romantic Korean couples. Some of these days include May’s Rose Day, June’s kiss Day and December’s Hug Day. Those who are unattached are not forgotten about as on April 14th, singletons celebrate ‘Black Day’ by eating black noodles to console themselves over their solitary status.
We hope you enjoy your Valentine’s day, and even if you don’t have a romantic partner to share it with make sure to look after yourself and do something nice for someone you love!