Spread the Love: Valentine's Day Around the World

What represents Valentine’s Day more than conversation hearts, red roses, and Bradley Cooper? Well, the truth is, these are only our traditions. Valentine’s Day in the United States is quite commercialized; brands and movies dominate the scene. However, as we become a globalized world, it’s pretty cool to be able to take a look at how February 14th is celebrated around the world. So, without further ado...

Mexico

Mexican Valentine’s Day is a little bit of a spin off of February 14th in the United States. Although the two are celebrated on the same day and celebrate romance, Mexico’s V Day celebrations also include friendship. It is just as common to gift your friends with candies and flowers as it is to indulge your lover. Honoring your friends, family, and loved ones is a staple of Mexican Valentine’s Day. Oftentimes, young children will write poems attached to balloons in respect for people in their lives.

(http://www.evrimgallery.com/Portland-Wedding-Blog/puerto-vallarta-weddin...)

Brazil

In Brazil, the day of love is called “Dia de los Enamorados", and is celebrated on the 12th of June. Music and food take the cake when it comes to celebrating love in this South American country. Rather than spending the day at a candlelit dinner for two, Brazilians tend to have huge, colorful, and full dinner parties for all of their loved ones. Additionally, many people end the night at various concerts or festivals in celebration. Of course, everyone knows Brazil as a place of immense passion, and this surely does shine through on June 12th each year.

France

Paris, France is considered the city of love. What might the city of love be up to on a day dedicated to love, you may ask. Valentine’s Day is actually said to have originated in France in the Middle Ages. Birds tended to mate during February, and thus lovers decided to show their love, in one way or another, during this time of the year as well. “Cartes d’Amities,” or Valentine’s Cards also originated in France and continue to be a popular tradition, along with your traditional “boys get the girl gifts” phenomena. However, France had a bit of an odd age old tradition in which unmarried couples would face away from each other, call out each other's names, and eventually turn to each other. If the man was unhappy with his lover’s appearance, he would abandon her. Luckily, this undoubtedly misogynistic tradition has been banned.

China

Much like the Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day in China is not celebrated on the same day as it is in the U.S. and most of the rest of the western world. According to the lunar calendar, Valentine’s Day, or “Festival of the Double Sevens,” is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month. There’s an entire legend behind this festival, but here’s the gist of it: A young cowherder falls in love with the youngest of seven sisters, a fairy and daughter of a goddess. He takes away her ability to return to Heaven, and promises to return it only if she agrees to marry him. The two are married with children when the weaver girl’s father requests her return and puts a milky way between the star-crossed lovers. The two are only allowed to meet on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Traditionally, couples and singles visit the Temple of the Matchmaker and pray for luck in love. Additionally, young girls participate in a variety of customs. Most notably, they show off their domestic skills and thread a needle under the moonlight in honor of the weaver girl. Sounds a little bit like an antiquated gender role, but it sure is an interesting and complex legend.

India

Valentine’s Day is fairly new in India, as it has been mostly introduced with the rise of globalization. Thus, February 14th is a bit Americanized and commercialized in India.  However, as with everything else in India, the holiday is adorned with ornate festivities. However, due to the westernized nature of Valentine’s Day in India, a country extremely full of its own traditions, many protests occur on February 14th each year.

(http://www.evrimgallery.com/Portland-Wedding-Blog/puerto-vallarta-weddin...)