Valentines Day around the World

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

As we get ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day tomorrow, we thought we’d take a look at how other countries around the world will be celebrating. So, if you’re getting ready to express your affection for that “special someone” or looking forward to just telling those close to you that you love them, get inspired by the traditions below.

Australia
During the Australian gold rush period, miners who suddenly struck gold, were willing to pay a pretty penny for elaborate valentines- even ship orders amounting to thousands of dollars at a time. The most extravagant Australian valentines were made of a satin cushion, perfumed and decorated in an ornate manner with flowers and colored shells. Some might even be adorned with a taxidermied humming bird.

Italy
In Italy, Valentine’s Day was once celebrated as a Spring Festival, held outdoors, where young people would gather in tree arbors or ornamental gardens to listen to music and the reading of poetry. However, over the course of the years, this custom steadily ceased and has not been celebrated for centuries. In Turin, it was formerly the custom for betrothed couples to announce their engagements on February 14.

Japan
In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on two different dates…February 14 and March 14. On the first date, the female gives a gift to the male and on the second date…known as White Day…the male has to return the gift he received on February 14. Thus, strictly speaking, a Japanese female has the luxury of actually choosing her own gift. Chocolate is the most popular gift in Japan.

Korea
The traditional gift of candy takes place in Korea on February 14, but only from females to males. There is another special day for males to give gifts to females and this is celebrated on March 14. Very similar to the custom in Japan, March 14 in Korea is known as “White Day.” On “White Day,” many young men confess their love for the first time to their sweethearts.

Taiwan
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Taiwan on February 14, but there is also a special Valentine’s Day on July 7 of the lunar calendar, based on an ancient Chinese folktale. Both dates are equally important. Many men purchase expensive bouquets of roses and other flowers for their sweethearts on these days. According to Taiwan tradition, the color and number of the roses holds much significance. For example, one red rose means “an only love,” eleven roses means “a favorite,” ninety-nine roses means “forever,” and one hundred eight roses means “marry me.”