How the World Celebrates Valentine Day

By: Jane Ng

How the World Celebrates Valentine Day

Love like air, knows no boundaries. Be it in any country or community, the celebration of love is a universal phenomenon. However, even though Valentine's Day is celebrated in full zest and fervor all over the world, the expression of this tender affection differs from place to place. Besides the typical roses, wine and Valentine's Day cards, let's roam the world and take a peep at how couples in different parts of the world celebrate this holiday filled with love, romance and friendship in their own unique way!

Valentine's Day Around the World

1) Japan 

Don't get too elated if you receive some chocolates from a girl while you are in Japan! In the land of the Rising Sun, it is common for a woman to give a box of chocolates to her superiors, colleagues and male friends as a token of gratitude or friendship. These chocolates are otherwise known as 'Giri-choko', which means obligatory chocolate.

However, a woman may also express her feelings for a man she loves by giving special gifts such as neckties or wallets, coupled with a box of chocolates. In this case, these chocolates are known as Honmei-choko, which means prospective chocolate.

Regardless if you are a receiver of Giri-choko or Honmei-choko, don't forget to return a gift of chocolates a month later on March 14, White Day. White Day offers the men a chance to return the favours they received on Valentine's Day. On this day, the chocolates are usually either white chocolate or they come in white boxes.

2) France 
Previously, the people in France used to celebrate Valentine's Day in a peculiar fashion. On Valentine's Day, the custom of "une loterie d'amour" or drawing for love is that unmarried people would go into houses facing each other and call out across from one window to another and pair off with their chosen partner. However, if the young man is unhappy with his valentine, he would desert her and a bonfire would be lit later where ladies would burn images of their ungrateful lovers and hurl abuses at them. Eventually, the French Government handed-down a decree and officially banned the custom.

These days, the celebration of Valentine's Day in France is kept simple. Couples in France exchange Valentine's Day greetings through cards, fresh flowers and gifts of love.

Valentine Day

3) China 
People in China typically do not celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14th . Instead, the Chinese Valentine's Day falls on the 7th day of the 7th Lunar month in the Chinese Calendar.

Interestingly, a legend lies behind festival of Valentine's Day in China. It is said that two lovers, the Weaving Maid (seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven) and the Cowherd, were separated by a Milky Way between them. The Weaving Maid resided in star Vega while the cowherd with lived in star Altair. Only once a year, on this particular day, then would the couple be allowed to meet.

Hence, on the Chinese Valentine's Day, the Temple of Matchmaker would be packed with lovers praying for love and happiness. Singles could also ask for their luck in love. There is also a traditional custom of girls putting a needle on water surface when star Vega is high up in the sky. If the needle floats, this means that the girl is ready to find a husband. In addition, girls may also ask for any wish on this day, but only one for the year.

4) Scotland 
In Scotland , unmarried males and females will gather at a festival in celebration of Valentine's Day. Each of them would write their name (or even a made-up name!) on a piece of paper, fold it, and then place into a hat, one for the ladies and one for the men.

The ladies would first draw a name from the hat containing the men's names and vice versa. Well, in the case where the two drawn names do not match, it is usually expected that the male pairs up with the female who had elected his name. After this, the people would then split up into their respective couples and the men would present a gift to the ladies. The ladies would pin the name of their partner over their hearts or on their sleeves.

A dance often follows and at the end of the festival, marriages might even take place if all went well!

Your Valentine's Day 
Valentine's Day can be separated in various ways all over the world. However, what is most important on this joyous occasion is to appreciate our loved ones around us. If you have a valentine this year, perhaps, you could start your Valentine's Day celebrations by giving your partner a hug, thank him/her for being there with you and let him/her know how much he/her means to you. Otherwise, celebrate this lovely occasion with your family and friends, for it is also an opportunity to get together and enjoy one another's company!

Dating and Romance
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Dating and Romance