On February 14, 2023, millions of people worldwide will celebrate Valentine's Day. In the United States, the romantic holiday is marked by giving candy, flowers, and gifts to loved ones. However, other countries celebrate the holiday differently. Some don't even observe it on February 14! Here are some interesting Valentine's Day customs from around the world.
In Japan, it is normal for women to give chocolates to men on Valentine's Day. "Giri choco," or "obligation chocolate," is given to casual friends and colleagues. It is a way of showing appreciation and respect. The more expensive "Honmei choco," or "true-feeling chocolate," is reserved for boyfriends and husbands. Japanese men return the favor on "White Day", which is celebrated on March 14. The presents can range from flowers to fine jewelry. However, the gift must cost at least three times more than what was received on Valentine's Day.
South Korea has added a unique twist to this fun tradition. Those that do not get a Valentine's Day gift celebrate "Black Day" on April 14. They dress in black and comfort each other over steaming noodles cooked in black bean sauce.
In Denmark, loved ones exchange handmade cards with pressed white flowers called snowdrops. Danish men often give women a "gaekkebrev" or "joke letter." It contains a unique poem or rhyme. The sender's identity is only shown through dots — one for each letter in the person's name. If the recipient correctly guesses the sender's name, they get a chocolate egg on Easter Sunday. If they fail, the recipient gives their secret fan a chocolate egg.
In Wales, Valentine's Day honors Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. It is celebrated on January 25. Couples exchange handcrafted wooden spoons. They are engraved with meaningful patterns and symbols. For example, a horseshoe symbolizes good luck, while a Celtic knot signals everlasting love. The unusual tradition dates back to the early 17th century.
In Germany, Valentine's Day is primarily celebrated by adults. Since pigs are considered lucky, many couples exchange pig figurines and photos. They also give each other heart-shaped ginger cookies with romantic messages written in icing.
Do you have a fun Valentine's Day tradition? Be sure to share it with us in the comment section below.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Resources: Smithsonianmag.com, Wikipedia.org, learningenglish.voa.com, Rd.com, traveltriangle.com