Did You Know? Valentine’s Day Traditions Around The World

Did You Know?

In the U.S. some common Valentine’s Day gifts might include a bouquet of roses, a cute stuffed bear, chocolates in a heart shaped box, or for the lucky few, maybe a diamond or two!  

But not all couples around the world celebrate the holiday the same way we do.  Our Transaction Coordinator, Kate Randall, has combined a few fun traditions from various cultures for you to enjoy!

South Korea
Celebrations of love (or the lack there of) in South Korea are known to last over a span of 3 months!  On February 14th, women shower their significant other with chocolates.  Then on March 14th, it’s the men’s turn to express their adoration by purchasing candies or gifts.  But the most intriguing tradition of all comes on April 14th, otherwise known as Black Day.  On Black Day, some men and women lament their “single-status” by indulging in black bean-paste noodles called jajangmyeon.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather treat myself to a bucket full of Ben and Jerry’s!

It’s a common Welsh tradition to give the gift of a “Love Spoon” on January 25th to celebrate the Welsh patron saint of lovers.  Men used to carve out spoons made of wood as a token of affection for the women they loved.  Now they’re more likely to purchase them at a store.  Love spoons are also a common gift to celebrate weddings, anniversaries, and births.  I think a love spoon could come in pretty handy while I’m stuffing my face full of that Ben and Jerry’s!

On the night before Valentine’s Day, women looking for love are known to place 5 bay leaves on their pillow before falling asleep.  All this in the hopes that they’ll get a glimpse of their future husband in their dreams.

South Africa
Some women in South Africa follow part of an ancient Roman tradition.  On Valentine’s Day, some women write the name of their secret love interests on a heart and pin the heart onto their sleeve.  This year I plan on participating in this tradition.  Don’t be surprised on the 14th, when you see me walking around with the word “Pizza” on my sleeve.

Valentines Day has increasingly become a very popular marriage date for many couples in the Philippines – but they’re not just your average weddings!  It’s common for hundreds of couples to gather together and share their wedding day.  Hundreds of couples will meet at public areas around the country to renew their vows or get married surrounded by strangers doing the very same thing.

It’s not as commonly celebrated today, but in Italy, some unmarried women believe that the first man they saw when they woke up on Valentine’s Day would be the man they would marry (or at least resemble him).  That seems way easier than using a dating app!  So, according to this tradition, it looks like I’ll be marrying the anchor from Channel 10.

Germans view the pig as a symbol for luck and lust.  So, couples are known to give each other pig figurines, pig-shaped ginger cookies, pictures of pigs, and even pig-shaped chocolate (Chocolate – Now we’re talking!).

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