February the 14th, a day that is often promised to be filled with sweets, flowers and a lot of love. Valentine’s Day is a historic and popular celebration. The iconic signing in one of Saint Valentine’s last letters, ‘From your Valentine’ is what inspired today’s romantic holiday. Let’s explore the different interpretations on the day of love and how it is uniquely celebrated across the globe.
It was in the 70’s when Valentine’s Day started to be celebrated in Japan. Against the traditional norm of men expressing their love for women, it was turned completely upside down. February the 14th became the day where women would convey their love towards their partner in the form of chocolates. Keep in mind, the status of the relationship could be interpreted from the gifts. Giri-choco is known as the obligation chocolate largely given towards friends and co-workers whereas Honmei-choco is given to a boyfriend, husband or true lover. Many Japanese women have started making their own chocolate, believing their efforts will show their true affection on this special day.
Across Latin America, Valentine’s day is more commonly known as El Dia del Amor y La Amistad, which translates into the day of love and friendship. People use this day to socialize in public areas however many also make several house visits to dear friends, in a way to toast towards a long-lasting friendship. This day is celebrated in the third week of September and was initially established in 1961 due to Septembers’ lack of holidays and to pump up the country’s economy.
In South Africa, women literally wear their hearts on their sleeves. This tradition derives from Lupercalia, an ancient Roman fertility festival. The idea is to pin who you admire onto your shirt sleeve. This is a way for south African men to find out who their not so secret admirers are.
On the 14th of February women give chocolates to men, and this is returned on White Day in March where it is the men’s turn to express love in the form of chocolates towards the ladies. Here’s the catch: every 14th of the month is a day dedicated to love in this order: Candle Day, Valentine’s Day, White Day, Black Day, Rose Day, Kiss Day, Silver Day, Green Day, Music Day, Wine Day, Movie Day, and Hug Day. One of the most compelling days is Black Day in April where all singles rejected from the two previous months come together to eat black bean-paste noodles known as Jjajyangmyeon.
In the past, many marriages were arranged. Often these marriages would be arranged by a matchmaker which dates to Pagan times where matchmaking took place at festivals. Today there is Willie Daly, one of the remaining matchmakers in Ireland. He lives in the town of Lisdoonvarna renowned for its traditional match-making. It is also in Lisdoonvarna where an annual week-long matchmaking festival is held. People from across the country gather to enjoy food, drinks and music. Daly attends this yearly festivity, providing his expertise, claiming that a mere touch of his magical book will result in falling in love within the coming half year. Already in love? Well it will happen all over again.
The country celebrates February the 14th with a unique flair. It is common to send your loved one little white flowers known as Snowdrops. A popular tradition are the Lover’s Cards where an amusing text, sometimes in the form of a poem is written to your lover. The letter is then signed with dots according to the number of letters in your name. If the identity of the sender is guessed correctly by the receiver, the sender owes them an Easter egg. If the receiver of the letter is unable to guess within three tries then the sender is owed the egg.
All in all, the day of love is experienced in countless unique ways. Hope you have a wonderful one.
Have a good one!
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