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Valentines Around the World

To quote a rather popular movie, “Love actually is all around” - all around the world that is. Though not celebrated in quite the same way, February 14th seems to be universally acknowledged as a day of kindness and love. In honor of the day of love, here are fourteen Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world.

South Korea - While in the United States it may be considered a holiday to treat women, in South Korea it’s quite the opposite. The women are the ones who spoil and pamper the men. (

The Philippines – While maybe not a century-old tradition, for quite some time now, February 14th has been celebrated with weddings. You might be wondering how that’s any different than here or anywhere else; well, it just so happens that these weddings are done en masse. Friends, neighbors, communities will gather on Valentine’s Day and tie the knot together. (

Taiwan – Like many countries, the Taiwanese give flowers as a token of love. However, the number and color of the flowers bears significance. Red roses mean “You’re my one and only,” 99 roses means “I will love you forever” and 108 roses means “Will you marry me?” (

England – Anyone missing Christmas should probably consider moving here. In Norfolk, England they celebrate by leaving gifts from Jack Valentine, the Santa of Valentine’s Day, on the front porch. (

Denmark – Rather than a large bouquet of roses, to show your fondness for someone you would give them what’s referred to as a snowdrop: a pressed white flower. (

Japan – Usually on Valentine’s Day, you only have to worry about the one that has your heart. In Japan, it’s a bit different; in addition to giving their partner chocolate, they also give “giri choco,” obligatory chocolate, to their coworkers and friends. (

Germany – Pigs are considered a symbol of luck and lust. Because of this, couples will often exchange pig themed gifts, and even chocolate pigs. (

Estonia – For all those out there who just want to hang out with your friends on the day of love, then maybe consider moving to Estonia, the home of the original Galantine’s day. Rather than a day of love, it’s known as a day of friendship. (

Wales – St. Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated rather than Valentine’s Day, and it’s observed on January 25th. The men gift “love-spoons” to the ones they love with these spoons being intricately carved with symbols special to them. (

Italy - While similar to most countries in that chocolate is gifted, it’s a specific type called Baci; Baci literally means “kisses.” It’s quite fitting on a day probably involving lots of kissing. (

France –It was thought in the Middle Ages that halfway through February, birds would begin to mate. For this reason, love letters and tokens of love are most commonly gifted on this day. (

Ghana – With the main export and cash crop being the cocoa bean, it’s really no wonder that Valentine’s Day turned into a national holiday for them. It is a day used to celebrate chocolate in any form. (

Greece – Perfumes are traditionally given, as it is believed that the fragrances help sing the hymns of love inspired by the Greek Gods. (

Last but not least, the United States: as with most of the world, our traditions range from love notes, to chocolates, to roses, and gifts. It’s a day to showcase your love. It could be in the form of an extravagant dinner with all of the above, a day hanging out with friends, or maybe just showing yourself some love and watching a rom-com while indulging in a heart shaped tin of chicken nuggets from Chick – Fil- A. However you decide to spend the day, just make sure you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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