8 Unique Valentine’s Day Traditions From Around The World

In Japan, women are expected to give chocolate to their boyfriends or husbands on Valentine’s Day.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images

While chocolates, candies and cards are quite ubiquitous on Valentine’s daythe holiday has taken on unique traditions in different parts of the globe.

Discover Japan’s “true feelings” chocolates, South Africa’s mass weddings, Denmark’s “love spoons” and other ways humans celebrate romantic holidays.

To find out more, see great food giftsthe best V-day chocolates and an attendant be single on valentines day.

The Philippines

In cities and towns across the country, thousands of couples take part in mass weddings held on February 14. Almost everything – from the wedding banquet to the venue, and sometimes even the gifts – is covered by the local government.

Manila Philippines mass wedding

A couple take a selfie as they attend a mass wedding ceremony on Valentine’s Day in Manila on February 14, 2020.

Rouelle Umali/Xinhua via Getty

“It feels good to see couples who have lived together for years, but cannot afford even the simplest of wedding ceremonies, finally get married with the help of the city government and other sponsors,” said said Lordase Sajonas, a municipal registrar in Pangasinan. about 200 km north of Manila, Pacific Daily News said in 2017.

“Some of them have been living together for years and already have children but are unable to present the necessary parental documents to their children’s school because they do not have a marriage certificate. cost of a wedding is so high.”

Ghana

Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, declared February 14 National Chocolate Day in 2005 in a bid to boost tourism and domestic chocolate consumption.

The initiative also aimed to deter young people from having sex by channeling their romantic energy into a gift of chocolate. The goal was “to minimize the social vices associated with celebrating Valentine’s Day,” Tourism Minister Barbara Oteng Gyasi said in 2020.

Italy

perugina bins

Baci Perugina are distributed on Valentine’s Day. The packaging of chocolate covered hazelnuts contains a romantic or affirmative message.

Baci Perugina

Chocolate also plays a role in Valentine’s Day traditions in Italy, where lovers exchange Baci Perugina – small chocolate-covered hazelnuts with romantic quotes printed on their wrappers in different languages. (“Bacio” is the Italian word for kiss.)

Continue reading: Valentine’s Day gifts for the man in your life

Keys can also be given on Valentine’s Day in Italy, symbolizing an invitation to open the giver’s heart.

Verona, where Shakespeare staged Romeo and Juliet, hosts a four-day romance festival to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The lovers cover the walls and fences around Juliet’s balcony with small red or pink padlocks.

A wall covered with padlocks at Juliet's house during the Verona in Love festival in Italy

A wall covered with padlocks at Juliette’s house during the Verona in Love festival on February 14, 2017.

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South Africa

In South Africa, it is customary for women in February to pin the name of their crush on their shirt sleeve. The tradition is believed to be a modern adaptation of the ancient Roman rite of Lupercalia, which involved animal sacrifices and naked men pursuing women in the street.

ROBBEN ISLAND, SOUTH AFRICA Mass Wedding

More than two dozen couples attend a mass wedding ceremony on Valentine’s Day 2010 on Robben Island, near Cape Town, South Africa.

Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images

On Robben Island, north of Cape Town, dozens of couples get married in a mass Valentine’s Day wedding ceremony held every year.

Japan

In Japan, women give men chocolates and flowers on February 14. Husbands, boyfriends or potential partners receive premium honmei choco (“real feel”) chocolates, while acquaintances and co-workers receive a simpler giri choco. (“obligation chocolates”).

A woman buys gorgeous ruby ​​Kit Kats in Tokyo.

A woman buys gorgeous ruby ​​Kit Kats as Giri choco at a chocolate shop in Tokyo.

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

A month later, on March 14 – or White Day – men who received honmei choco are expected to reciprocate with a gift worth at least two or three times what their wives spent on chocolate.

Romania

In Romania, February 25 is known as Dragobete, after the Romanian god of love: women collect snow, melt it and wash their faces with water to have beautiful skin all the year.

Young men and women gather outside the church in their best clothes and go into the forest to pick flowers or herbs for the incantations.

dragobete

A pedestrian dances with a Romanian woman during the Dragobete celebration in Bucharest.

DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images

Before lunch, the boys are supposed to hunt the girls and, if a suitor catches a young girl, steal a kiss.

A Dragobete superstition holds that stepping over a partner’s foot leads to taking the dominant role in the relationship.

Denmark

In Denmark, lovers and friends exchange white flowers called snowdrops.

The men also write “gaekkebrev” – elaborate notes on cut-out paper with a humorous message signed only by a series of anonymous dots. If his beloved finds out who sent her a “joke card,” she wins an Easter egg later that spring.

Wales

Wooden Love Ghost Wales

A pair of wooden love spoons from Wales.

Nacho Mena

Lovers in Wales have been exchanging handcrafted wooden spoons on January 25 for over 400 years: On St Dwynwen’s Day – named after the Welsh patron saint of lovers – young men present ‘spoons of love” they sculpted to the young women they court.

“If accepted, then they were considered tokens of betrothal or betrothal,” woodcarver Kerry Thomas told CBS News.