Valentine’s Day around the World

Valentine%27s+Day+around+the+World

Jianna Wiedenmeyer, Staff writer

            Valentine’s Day is normally a day that you enjoy or dread based on whether or not you have a “valentine”. This day may look different depending on if you go all out or if you just let it pass by. Remember as kids giving and receiving valentines from our classmates? Well it may not be like that anymore, but there are ways that you could still celebrate with the ones you love such as a handwritten note that you send to them or baking a sweet treat to give to them to show your love. These may sound simple, but it is still a special way to appreciate your loved ones. Along with this, many countries across the world celebrate Valentine’s Day quite differently. So if you find yourself feeling down because you can’t be with the ones you love, take some time to read this article about how other countries celebrate this holiday.

 

            Now Brazil celebrates a holiday known as “Dia dos Namorados” or ‘Lover’s Day’” (Viator 2017) on June 12th. Brazil is known for their extravagant Carnival celebration which takes place in February or March of each year. On Dia dos Namorados, Brazilians exchange chocolates, flowers, and cards. There are also numerous festivals held throughout the country on this day. But this exchange of gifts and chocolates is not solely for couples; Brazilians will give these to family and friends as well while having dinner with them. After this day of love, in Brazil, it is called Saint Anthony’s Day which is in honor of the saint of marriage. So on this day, single women will perform “simpatias [rituals] in hopes that St. Anthony will bring them a husband” (Viator 2017).

            The Welsh celebrate a Valentine’s Day like most people, but there are a few differences with their holiday. For one, they do not celebrate Saint Valentine, instead they celebrate Saint Dywnwen, who is the patron saint of love in Wales. The other difference is that they celebrate this day on January 25th. One of their most romantic traditions is the exchange of love spoons. This tradition has been around since the 17th century and is still practiced to this day. The men hand carve wooden spoons with special symbols and patterns that mean different things. Some of these symbols include a key that symbolizes the key to the man’s heart, or a horseshoe for good luck. Of course there are many other decals engraved but those are just a few. Love spoons are not only just for couples on this special day, they are also gifted to people on weddings, births, and anniversaries.

            In England on Valentine’s Day eve, women gather five bay leaves and wet them with rosewater and would set them on each corner of the pillows and one in the center of the pillow. This would all be put in place to bring the women dreams of their future husbands. Another fun tradition in England for the children is Jack Valentine; Jack Valentine is sort of the Santa of Valentine’s Day in that he goes to all the children’s doors and leaves little gifts and candies for them. Then when the children wake up they open the door to sweet treats on their porches.

            Of course France has some special Valentine’s Day traditions since Paris, France is arguably one of the most romantic cities ever. In fact, many believe that the very first Valentine’s card originated in France when the Duke of Orleans was in prison in the Tower of London in 1415 and sent them to his wife. Now love letters are a tradition all around the world. One tradition in France, that has since been banned because of how crazy it can get, is known as “loterie d’amour, or ‘drawing for love.’” This tradition involved men and women getting into houses that faced each other, and from there they would all take turns calling out to each other and going in pairs. And if the men weren’t satisfied with their partner, they could “leave [the] woman for another” (Viator 2017). Then those angry women would all gather together and head to a bonfire where they would toss in pictures of the man as they insulted and yelled profanity about males. Sounds a little crazy right? No wonder they banned the tradition…

            Valentine’s Day in Denmark has only been celebrated since the 1990s, so it is a fairly new holiday to the Danes. They celebrate on February 14th also but with a unique twist, instead of giving your Valentine roses, the Danish exchange snowdrops, white flowers that have been pressed, to friends and lovers. The Danish also give out “lover’s cards” which is just like any ol’ Valentine card. Another fascinating tradition in Denmark is that the men give women “gaekkebrev, (or) a ‘joking letter’” (Viator 2017) that is normally a rhyme or a funny poem written on an intricately cut paper with dots at the bottom. These notes are anonymous and what our equivalent of a secret admirer would be. So with this note, if the receiver can guess who sent it, they earn an Easter egg later in the year. 

By Nillerdk – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3598504                Up here is an image of what a gaekkbrev love letter looks like. (Denmark)

            China’s equivalent of Valentine’s Day is called Qixi also known as the Seventh Night Festival, “which falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month each year” (Viator 2017). This tradition comes from the Chinese lore about the heavenly king’s daughter and poor cow herder who fell in love, got married, and had twins. Once the heavenly king found out about their marriage, he sent his queen to retrieve their daughter and bring her back to the stars. This left the husband and the children without a mother and the king heard their cries and he allowed the lovers to meet once a year on Qixi, which is the reason that they celebrate Valentine’s Day on this day. During this day young women prepare melons and other fruits as an offering to the king’s daughter in hopes of getting a respectable husband for themselves. Couples also go together to temples to pray for “happiness and prosperity” (Viator 2017).The night of Qixi people turn their gazes to see the stars “Vega and Altait” (Viator 2017), come close together significant of the two lovers.

By David Ritter – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82152810
Here is an image of two stars like the stars Vega and Altait      which symbolize the two lovers on the Chinese celebration of Qixi.

            For young couples in South Korea, Valentine’s Day is very popular. Where most places have a day to celebrate this holiday, South Korea celebrates this holiday from February through April! The women start it all off with gift giving of chocolates, flowers, and candies on February 14th. Their intention is to impress their partner through the gifts. And a whole month later, March 14th, known as White Day, where the men shower their love with chocolates and flowers as well as a special gift… And of course there is a celebration for the single people known as Black Day, which is celebrated on April 14th. This day is solely set aside for the singles in the community and it is a day where they mourn for their single status by eating “dark bowls of jajangmyeon, or black bean-paste noodles” (Viator 2017).

By by 아침꿀물 at Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/morish/4079464860/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8535168             Here is an image of jajangmyeon that the single South Koreans would typically eat on Black Day. (South Korea)

 

           Clearly there are numerous different ways that other countries celebrate what we know as Valentine’s Day. Some traditions are the same throughout the world, but others have a unique spin on it. If you want to change things up this year regardless of if you’re single or taken, I encourage you to think outside of the box and try something new that you find fun and romantic. Have a great Valentine’s Day everyone!

 

Works Cited

Viator. “10 Valentine’s Day Traditions All Around the World.” HuffPost,                  HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/10-valentines-                    day- traditi_b_9190888.