While we’re used to receiving heart-shaped chocolates and greeting cards from our loved ones here in the UK on Valentine’s Day, other countries celebrate this romantic day rather differently. Here are our top five Valentine’s traditions from around the world…
Rather than gifting roses on Valentine’s Day, friends and lovers exchange pressed white flowers. Men also send a gaekkebrev – a joking letter containing a funny poem or rhyme written on paper cut into a pattern and signed with anonymous dots. If a woman receives a gaekkebrev and can guess who sent it, she is gifted with an Easter egg later in the year.
In Japan, the woman treats her man. It’s all in her hands when it comes to choosing and gifting presents (namely chocolates) to her loved ones or female friends. Don’t worry, the men don’t get off the hook that easily! On 14 March, boys return the gesture by gifting chocolates and more.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated on 14 February as well as 7 July, when many men buy bouquets of roses. According to tradition, one red rose means ‘an only love’, 11 roses mean ‘a favourite’, 99 roses mean ‘forever’ and 100 roses mean ‘marry me’. Not a cheap month for the blokes, then…
One day for Valentine’s Day? Pfffft, that’s nowhere near enough for the Argentinians, who take a week to celebrate the romantic occasion – in addition to 14 Feb. During Sweetness Week, from 13-20 July, lovers and friends exchange gifts and kisses.
The Welsh celebrate the equivalent of St Valentine – Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers – on 25 January. The traditional romantic gift to a loved one is a spoon, dating back to the 17th century, when Welshmen carved intricate wooden spoons as a token of affection for the women they loved.
Do you have any personal Valentine's traditions? Let us know, we'd love to hear from you!