On St. Valentine`s day each year people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their significant other. The day of romance is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century. 14th of February is such an international day, people all over the world celebrate it and what I found very interesting is how different traditions are in different countries. Some might assume that Valentine`s day is the same at every part of the world, but in reality it is a lot more than that.
Usually, as we have all experienced, Valentine`s day is about exchanging gifts to each other, but in Japan and South Korea women spoil their men (they usually make chocolate) and not the other way around, like in many european countires. However, in Japan and South Korea they have a different celebration called “White Day” that takes place on March 14th exactly one month after the Valentine`s day. This is where women get spoiled by men in return in similar fashion.
Moving to France, one of the most romantic countries in the world, it is no surprise that France too had some strange Valentine’s Day tradition. Their most popular tradition was called “drawing for love”. This practice had single men and women of all ages to enter houses that faced opposite each other and take turns calling out to one another until they were paired off. If the men didn’t like their match, they would simply leave the woman for another man to call. Women that didn`t get paired off got together around bonfire to burn pictures or objects of men who rejected them. sometimes it would get so wild that french government actually had to ban this tradition.
In England, similar to France, Valentine`s is about single people. In fact, in 18th century it was believed that by placing five bay leaves under your pillow on the night of the 14th it will bring you dreams of a future husband or wife. Nowadays this tradition is not widely practiced, but some young women or girls might do it for fun.
Here was a brief look at some countries with different Saint Valentine`s Day traditions in Asia and Europe. Again, it is very interesting how a day with one origin has spread to different traditions and meanings!