Valentine’s Day around the world
Valentine’s Day is recognised in several countries around the world but a few celebrate the day of love a little bit differently.
In most places gifts and cards are exchanged, while in others it’s customary to go out for dinner, but in at least one country it’s tradition for thousands of couples to get married in a joint ceremony.
Yello has looked at how five countries show their love – maybe they’ll provide you with inspiration beyond flowers and chocolate.
In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is special for thousands of engaged couples who choose to make it the day they exchange vows at mass wedding ceremonies.
Marrying in large groups has gained increasing popularity in the country in recent years, with hundreds of couples becoming husband and wife at events held in public squares, parks or malls.
Some previously married couples also take advantage of the wedding mania to renew their vows.
On Valentine’s Day in South Africa, it’s traditional for women to literally wear their hearts on their sleeve by cutting out a piece of paper with the names of their love interest, and pinning it onto their tops.
This custom follows the ancient Roman tradition known as ‘Lupercalia’, and for some men it’s how they finally find out that they have a secret admirer.
On February 14th, Japanese women give traditional ‘Giri Choco’ (‘obligation chocolate’), which are chocolates with no romantic association, to male friends, colleagues or even bosses.
If women want to treat their partner, boyfriend or prospective love interest, they can send them ‘Honmei Choco’ (‘true feeling chocolate’), which is usually better quality and more expensive and can come with a handmade gift.
A month later, Japanese men reciprocate and give the gift of chocolates or sweets to the women in their life – March 14th in Japan is known as ‘White Day’.
Italian couples celebrate St Valentine’s by getting together to enjoy music, poetry and food.
One of the traditional gifts exchanged on the day is the ‘baci perugina’, a box of small hazelnut-filled chocolate kisses (baci means ‘kiss’ in Italian). This box is accompanied by a romantic quote printed in four languages.
There’s also an old tradition in Italy which states that the first man a girl sees on February 14th will become her husband, and they’ll be married within a year – so be careful who you look at that morning!
Denmark only began celebrating Valentine’s Day in the early 1990s but it’s already added its own Scandinavian twist to February 14th.
One tradition involves Danish friends and sweethearts exchanging pressed white flowers called ‘Snowdrops’ rather than the usual red roses.
Danish men also send a ‘joking letter’ called Gaekkebrev, which is a funny poem or rhyme written on delicately cut paper and signed with anonymous dots. If the recipient correctly guesses who sent the card, s/he will earn an Easter egg for later on in the year.