Photo Credit: stock.adobe.com By pyty
Valentine’s Day may look a little different this year with many couples opting to celebrate their love safely at home in the U.S. and worldwide. For hundreds of years, nations have celebrated Valentine’s Day with beloved traditions. The following countries have unique Valentine’s Day origins and beliefs – some even choose to celebrate on a different day of the year. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, couples are looking for ways to express love during the pandemic and create a memorable day in 2021. Let’s take a look at some of the traditions and twists around the globe:
Valentine’s Day is known as Dia des los Enamorados, when lovers celebrate their romance with daytrips and special dates. Later in the year, during the first week of July, “Sweetness Week,” or Semana de la Dulzura, is celebrated when candies are exchanged for a kiss! If you love sweets and kissing, then Argentina is the place to be!
With festivities occurring nationwide during February, including Carnival, Brazilians wait for Valentine’s Day celebrations until June 12th. This day is known as Dia dos Namorados, or Day of Lovers. June 12th is the day before Saint Anthony of Padua’s Day or Festas Juninas, June Festivals. Brazilians recognize three Catholic solemnities: Saint Anthony, John the Baptist, and Saint Peter. Saint Anthony is remembered as the marriage saint, which is why Brazilians celebrate Dia dos Namorados on June 12th. Brazilians exchange cards, chocolates, flowers, sip caipirinhas and enjoy samba. Hopefully, it will be safe to celebrate in public by June 12th, 2021.
The holiday Qixi Festival is considered “Chinese Valentine’s Day.” It’s celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar (August 14, 2021). It originated from a legendary love story of a special day when separated lovers, a cowherd and weaver maid, could reunite for only one day a year. During the festival, young girls pray for sewing skills and make wishes for happiness and love. The Western February 14th Valentine’s Day is also becoming popular, especially with urban young people. Loved ones gift chocolates, flowers, and fancy dinners.
Valentine’s Day became popular after the 1989 Velvet Revolution in this nation. Czechs prefer celebrating their sweethearts on the Day of Love, May 1st, where according to Czech superstition, couples find a blossoming cherry tree to share a kiss under to ensure happiness and health and exchange small gifts. In Prague, lovers venture to the statue of poet Karel Hynek Mácha, the author of the love poem Máj (May), to share a kiss under the nearby trees.
On February 14th, Estonians celebrate Friendship Day or Sobrapaev. Family and friends exchange gifts with each other, focusing on celebrating non-romantic relationships. It is a time for singles to feel involved and cherished. People who aren’t in a relationship can board the “love bus” in search of a match. Friends, as well as couples, celebrate the day and exchange gifts. This day is more about celebrating the importance of friendships.
Valentine’s Day wasn’t really celebrated in this nation until after World War II. It is an adult holiday celebrated by grown-ups, and there aren’t any valentines exchanged by children or teenagers at school. A unique symbol of German Valentine’s day is an animal – the pig. This is because the pig symbolizes luck and lust in Germany. The German shops are filled with chocolate pigs, pigs in flowers, and piggy hearts!
Japanese ladies take the initiative on Valentine’s Day and give men gifts, specifically homemade honmei chocolate for a romantic interest, and retail giri chocolate for non-romantic colleagues and friends. On March 14th, known as White Day, Japan’s gentlemen give the ladies white chocolate or other white gifts.
Celebrations occur beginning on February 14th, and last until April. Ladies show their affection with candy, flowers, and small tokens of admiration. On March 14th, or White Day, gentlemen reciprocate by offering their admirers chocolate, flowers, and a nice gift. Singles wearing black clothing celebrate Black Day on April 14th, where some claim they celebrate their singleness, and others mourn their single status, eating a bowl of black bean-paste noodles known as jajangmyeon.
Celebrations in Wales focus on Saint Dwynwen’s Day, highlighting the patron saint of lovers on January 25th. In the 17th century, Welsh men began the tradition of carving love spoons for their beloved. These intricate carvings depicted symbols, such as wheels to signify support, horseshoes for luck, and keys representing the passage to a man’s heart. Saint Dwynwen is often quoted as a romantic as she coined the phrase “Nothing wins hearts like cheerfulness.”
However you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, find a special way to connect virtually, outdoors, or in person with the ones you love.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, modern manners and etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.
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