How Different Countries Celebrate Valentine’s Day

It’s a new year, and with January coming to a close, the season of love is around the corner; Valentine’s Day. This is a special day set aside to celebrate lovers worldwide. There are a lot of controversies as the who started the celebration. Still, in the 5th century, Roman pope Gelasius declared February 14th as the official date for the festival. Individuals around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day in various ways. From gifting thoughtful gifts to mass weddings, here are some ways individuals from different countries celebrate their love.

In Northern European countries like Finland and Estonia, individuals celebrate Friends’ Day instead of Valentine’s Day, where they exchange gifts with their friends. In South Korea, February 14th isn’t the only day dedicated to lovers. In fact, on the 14th of every month, South Koreans celebrate lovers in different ways. For example, on May 14th, they celebrate Rose Day, while on August 14th, they celebrate Green Day, where couples have dates by the countryside.

Portrait of couple kissing while hidden behind bouquet of flowers

Getty Images / DigitalVision / Thomas Barwick

 

Japanese Valentine tradition ensures that no gender is left behind. The women gift men chocolates, candies, and flowers on February 14th, and the men return the favor on the White Day, March 14th, to the women who gave them chocolates the month before. The Philippines celebrates couples’ unions for their Valentine’s celebration. Their Valentine’s Day usually involves mass weddings, where couples confess their love to one another.

The Italians classically celebrate Valentine’s Day through gifts and romantic dinners. In Italy, famous Valentine’s Day gifts are Baci Perugina, which are small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped with a romantic quote printed in four languages. South African women literally wear their hearts on their sleeves on Valentines’ day. They pin the names of their love interest on their sleeves; this practice has its roots in a Roman tradition called Lupercalia. Most people learn of their secret admirers this way.