In case you’ve had your head in the sand for the past few weeks, one of the world’s most celebrated holidays is here and whether the festivities are low key or all out, love is all around! In Western culture, we know it’s usually celebrated with a card, chocolate and flowers and perhaps a nice meal out but elsewhere, Valentine’s Day is celebrated rather differently! Take a look at 14 weird and wonderful Valentine’s Day celebrations that I’ve found around the world…
1. Valentine’s Day in Japan sees women give gifts to men, particularly to their lovers and male co-workers. The gift will be of sweets or chocolate and the type they present dictates their feelings towards them – Honmei-Choko, or true love chocolate, is reserved for the man they love, Giri-Choko, or obligatory chocolate, goes to a man they feel neutral about and unpopular men will be awarded with cheap, obligatory chocolate, Cho-Giri-Choko! Men return the gesture the following month, on “White Day”.
2. In South Korea, the 14th of every single month is dedicated to a different aspect of love, such as Hug Day and Wine Day so there’s no avoiding it if you’re single! If you don’t receive anything on February 14th or March 14th, singles get together on April 14th to eat black noodles and mourn their single lives.
3. In Lithuania and Latvia, people stick stickers on friends and relatives faces and clothing!
4. The day of love in Slovenia is actually celebrated in March but 14th February still has significance here as it is thought to be the day that plants start to grow and work starts in the fields!
5. In Malaysia, the day of love is actually in aid of singles and is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. It sees single ladies write their telephone numbers on oranges which they then throw in the river, with the hope that their soul mate will then find it and call them. More often than not however, these “lucky” fruits are plucked from the river by fruit sellers to be sold to unsuspecting shoppers instead!
6. Friends are the main focus in Finland and Estonia and the day is dedicated to the friendships you have in your life as opposed to romantic relationships and people perform acts of appreciation to show they care.
7. The government has officially banned romantic celebrations of any kind In Uzbekistan, branding the day as the product of “forces with evil goals bent on putting an end to national values”. Definitely not a destination for lovers!
8. In the USA, it’s reported that up to 8 million lonely (read – desperate?) residents send themselves Valentine’s gifts, be it a card, flowers of chocolate! Apparently, the act of giving is irrelevant; it’s the receiving that makes you feel loved!
9. India celebrates Valentine’s Day in two ways; on one hand, week long celebrations with plenty of media hype and the exchange of cards, flowers and gifts. On the other, women protest against the day in the streets, convinced that it’s a ploy by Western society to squash Indian culture!
10. South Africa welcomes the occasion with open arms with celebrations and parties which go on for one week. Young girls often pin the name of their lover to their sleeve, similar to the old saying “Wearing your heart on your sleeve”.
11. In Denmark, men give cards signed by the number of dots that relates to the number of letters in the name. If the apple of their eye correctly guesses who their secret admirer is, they can look forward to receiving an egg at Easter.
12. Modern China goes all out on Valentine’s Day and allows couples to check into hotels without checking for a marriage certificate. This is apparently against the law at any other time in the year, where law dictates that marriage certificates must be verified before allowing couples to check in!
13. You may be surprised that Valentine’s Day is rather popular in Israel, with couples often waiting until this day to get engaged. Plenty of gifts are also exchanged.
14. The holiday is also a favourite in the Philippines where hundreds of couples congregate together at a mass kissing festival known as “Lovapalooza”!