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Valentine’s Day Traditions From Around The World

flickr.com mariya z

Valentine’s Day, a day that symbolizes love or the prospect of love, celebrated around the world.  Here in the U.S., we celebrate by taking the opportunity to let a loved one know that they are the love of your life.  How do we do it?  How do people celebrate Valentine’s day around the world? We have the top traditions here. We give gifts of candy, cards, flowers, and even a night out of dining and champagne or his or her favorite wine.  In our schools, children decorate shoe boxes in pink and red construction paper and set them on their desks or tables ready to receive endearing Valentine cards and candy from their classmates.  Sound pretty sappy?  Well, check out some other Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world…

Australia

Just as in several other countries, people in Australia celebrate Valentine’s Day by presenting cards and flowers to loved ones. While exchanging paper cards is a common way of greeting Valentine’s Day these days more and more people are using text messaging and e-mail medium to express their love for loved ones. Surveys reveal that men in Australia are more romantic and open about expressing their love as compared to Australian women. Men in Australia buy more cards than women do.

Great Britain

Traditions here are quite similar to other countries, however, it is believed that unmarried girls in Britain used to wake up before sunrise on Valentine’s Day. They believed that the first man they see on Valentine’s Day or someone who looks like him would marry them within a year. Girls, therefore, used to wake up early to stand by their window and wait for the man to pass.

Japan

There is a strong tradition of women gifting chocolates to men on Valentines Day in Japan. It is seen that two types of chocolates are more popular for Valentine’s Day. One type of chocolate called giri-choco, is bought for friends, bosses, colleagues and close male friends. ‘Giri’ in Japan means obligation hence these types of chocolates have no romantic association. Giri chocolates are mostly bought from the store. Ladies make sure they pass on giri-choco to please all men close to them as it is seen that men who do not receive any chocolate feel embarrassed.

France

People in France once followed a peculiar Valentine’s Day custom called drawing for”. Unmarried young and old people would go into houses facing each other and begin calling out across from one window to another and pair off with their chosen partner. If the young man failed to be particularly enthralled with his valentine, he would desert her. A bonfire would be lit later where ladies would burn images of their ungrateful lovers and hurl abuses at them. The ritual was eventually abandoned as it left much room for nastiness and ridicule. French government handed-down a decree and officially banned the custom.

Italy

People of Italy see Valentine’s Day as a holiday imported from US, just like Halloween and Mother’s Day. For the love and lovers country of Italy, the major day for celebration of love is il giorno della festa degli innamorati. As lovers’ exclusively celebrate this day family members and friends do not exchange gifts.

In recent times however, lovers in Italy celebrate Valentine’s Day by expressing their love to sweethearts. Couples usually go out for dinners at pizzeria or ristorante. Just as in several other countries, the festival has been commercialized to a great extent. There is a strong tradition to exchange gifts like rose, perfume, chocolates and diamonds depending on the age and taste of person. Another popular Valentine’s Day gift in Italy is Baci Perugina – small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts containing a small slip of paper with a romantic poetic quote in four languages.

India

On February 14, the Valentine’s Day restaurants, discos, Cineplex, pubs and pizza parlors see a particularly busy time as couples celebrate the day in togetherness. Many boys and girls even propose to their sweetheart on this romantic day. People also express love to their friends, teachers, siblings and parents. Popular Valentine’s Day gifts exchanged in India include chocolates, fresh flowers, cards, soft toys and candies.  Does this sound familiar?

Denmark

Valentine’s Day is celebrated with great parties and get togethers all over Denmark. Different flowers, gifts and cards are sent across the world to the near and dear ones. In Denmark, various Valentine events take place such as musical concerts, display shows, game shows and art exhibitions take place. People book party halls and restaurants for the celebration with their Valentine. Some people love to visit the Little Mermaid, Den Lille Havfure in Copenhagen and the famous Tivoli amusement park specially on Valentine’s Day while some plan special Valentine at an appealing holiday spot.

 

So, after reviewing the customs and traditions of Valentine’s Day in other countries, if you sum it up, it is pretty much the same result;  A day to express feelings for loved ones, not just sweethearts, but friends, teachers, parents, children, and even pets!  I hope your Valentine’s Day is a day filled with love as it was originally intended… and don’t eat too much chocolate!

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