Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Human beings thrive off of love and affection; it adds colour to our life perspectives, music to our movements, and helps us deal with a lot of things we would not have the courage to deal with otherwise. That’s why Valentine’s Day is enthusiastically celebrated all around the world in different ways; because everyone wants to feel the love. Here are 10 different ways people from different countries commemorate Valentine’s day:

Philippines

While the usual exchange of chocolates and flowers is as prevalent in the Philippines as around the world, one interesting event that occurs there on the special day is group weddings. Yes, that’s right! Hundreds and thousands of Filipino couples who are ready to tie the knot gather together in one place and say their vows at the same time. This is mostly popular amongst younger people with lower financial conditions, as these ceremonies are usually free of cost. They are sponsored by the government as a form of public service.

Japan

Japan celebrates Valentine’s Day in two parts, using only chocolates as presents. Originally on the 14th of February, females gave out “Giri-choco” to their male friends and family members to show platonic love. However, they then present expensive “Honmei-choco” to the object of their affection.
The second part takes place on March 14th, “White Day”. Men who received chocolates on February 14th reciprocate by giving back white coloured chocolates and treats to the women, so as to say, “I like you too”. This tradition has spread to other Asian countries recently.

Denmark

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Denmark with an exchange of cards. Originally these cards were transparent cards with a photograph of the card giver attached to it as a token of giving themselves to the people they fancy as a present, or cards with pressed flowers. However, nowadays, the usual Hallmark card is also accepted, even though it’s much less romantic. Oh well, I guess it’s the thought that counts.

An interesting practice is that of men giving women “gaekkebrev”, a joke letter consisting of creative jokes or funny poems. They never sign the letter with their names, rather using anonymous “dots” that can be decrypted to find their names. If the girl manages to figure out the sender’s name, she receives an Easter egg later that year!

South Korea

Valentine’s is a big deal for young couples in South Korea, who have lots of celebratory occasions for it all throughout the year. The two main days are Valentine’s Day and White Day, inspired by Japanese tradition. There is also “the day of roses” celebrated on May 14th, “the day of kisses” on June 14th and “the day of hugs” on December 14th.

However, one interesting day for Koreans is on the 14th of April, called Black day. This is when single or heartbroken people commemorate their singlehood by eating dark bowls of jajangmyeon, or black bean-paste noodles. This is a way to show support for the singles community in Korea as well as lamenting their own sorrows.

Wales

The Welsh celebrate love on the 25th of January, in honour of Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. Traditionally, Welsh men showed their love by gifting a “love spoon”. They would carve intricately designed spoons and engrave different symbols into the spoon, each with different meanings. In modern times, Welsh women have now also started gifting these spoons to anyone they like. Spoon exchange is nowadays also done on anniversaries and weddings.

Bangladesh

The colour red has always been considered a symbol of love universally and associated with Valentine’s Day. However, in Bangladesh, the entire celebration is centered around the colour red.

If you go outside your house on February 14th, you will see the streets flooded with people, whether they may be single or taken, dressed in red clothing. Women dress up in traditional red saree and flower crowns. Couples wear red to symbolise their love and singles wear red to attract other people.
Red roses are the most common gift, along with red coloured heart shaped balloons and red jewellery, mostly earrings or bracelets. 

South Africa

Apart from the customary festivities of flowers and chocolates, women in South Africa often, literally, wear their hearts on their sleeves on Valentine’s day. 
Following an ancient Roman tradition known as Lupercalia, girls pin the name of the person they like on the sleeve of their top. This is to show the boys who admire them or are attracted to them, and to find out if the feelings are reciprocated. 
Quite bold if you ask me; you go girls!

  South West China:

In Miao China, the festival called “Sister’s Meal” is celebrated on the 15th of March. On that day, women dress in festive clothing and heavy silver ornaments. They cook dishes made of coloured rice, hide an object inside them and offer them to men on the streets to try out their luck. If a man manages to pick up the object in one try from the dish, they win the heart of that woman. Picking up garlic would result in instant rejection. Harsh! 

Bulgaria

Bulgarians forgo the usual chocolates and flowers when it comes to this holiday. Instead, partners and dates celebrate their love with a glass of exquisite local wine. This is why it’s called the day of the winemakers, “San Trifon Zartan” in Bulgarian.
I guess you could say it’s a love shot!

India

This one, in my completely unbiased opinion, is the best story I have seen so far. Unlike the other countries of this list, Valentine’s Day has a bloody history in India, and is only now celebrated after decades of fighting for it. In addition to love, it also symbolises female empowerment and freedom.
The issue started on February 14th, 2009, when members of a Hindu political group called the Sri Ram Sena violently beat up several women in public for hanging out with men in a bar. In the extremist religious Indian society, this action was deemed acceptable. Those girls were the ones who got reprimanded as, according to others, they were violating cultural norms and behaving like “rotten women”. I’m sure you understand what that implies.

This was followed by decades of protests from different activist groups and feminists, which gave birth to an amazing Valentine’s Day tradition in the country.
On the 14th of February each year, women who refused to bow down to societal expectations would send pink coloured panties through mail to the various offices of the Sri Ram Sena group, as a form of insulting these fascists.  Even though Indian society has recently accepted the celebration of Valentine’s Day to a certain extent, the tradition of mailing pink panties and online mockery through memes is still prevalent. 

These different unique traditions from around the world show us how important it is for people to celebrate any and all forms of love, regardless of where they are from. Be it to show your freedom to love, confess your affections, celebrate your relationship and your ordeals with your partner, or to find someone who you can share your love and life with. Even celebrating your lack of love is an event. This Valentine’s Day let’s take inspiration from lovers all around the world and love freely!

Nanjiba Showkat

Waterloo '24

Hi! I am first year Accounting and Finance student from the University of Waterloo with a passion for writing and obsession with literature and arts.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️