With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, many American’s are working on stocking up on Valentine’s Day cards to be passed around a classroom (safely), chocolate, and flowers (or waiting until the next day when all of the candy goes on sale). However, the way Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day is vastly different from the traditions held by other countries around the world.
- Danish Snowdrops. Valentine’s Day has only been celebrated in Denmark for around 30 years, but they wasted no time coming up with their own traditions for the holiday. Instead of exchanging roses, which is fairly customary in America, people in Denmark exchange white flowers called “Snowdrops.” These flowers often come with a card called gaekkebrev, or “joke letter,” which contains a funny poem or message.
- Korea’s Three Part Celebration. While Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Korea, couples and singles have extended the holiday so various parts of it take part on February 14, March 14, and April 14. On Valentine’s Day, women buy gifts, candy and flowers to pursue their partners, while on March 14, “White Day,” the partner returns the favor. However, April 14, “Black Day,” is meant for people who did not get to celebrate either of the earlier two holidays. These people who did not receive gifts gather together and eat Jajangmyeon, noodles with a black looking paste.
- Welsh Love Spoons. Valentine’s Day is not celebrated in Wales; it is replaced with a celebration of Saint Dwynwen (the patron saint of love in Wales) on January 25. Instead of buying flowers, men carve wooden spoons as a token of love. These spoons can have a wide variation of symbols carved on them, ranging from a lock for security, a key to represent the recipient holding the key to the giver’s heart, or a flower, symbolizing the love between the two people growing.
- Weddings in the Philippines. While Valentine’s Day is celebrated similarly in the Philippines as it is in America, there is one large difference. People living in the Philippines often get married on Valentine’s Day. Because so many people shared a wedding date, it became tradition to just hold mass wedding ceremonies in public places like malls in order to get married or renew vows.
- France’s Former Flair for Drama. While France no longer practices this tradition (for good reason, probably), Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated in its origin country with ancient speed dating with a twist. “Une loterie d’amour,” or “drawing for love,” involved men and women gathering in houses opposite each other (separated by gender) and calling out to each other until they paired off. If the man liked the woman he was paired with, they would stay together, but if he didn’t, he would dump her. Afterwards, the women who had been dumped would gather around a bonfire and burn an image of the man who abandoned them.