Valentine’s day is but a few days away, are you ready? Some will see this day as the epitome of a romantic celebration while others may see it as a painful reminder of their relationship status. Whether you’re single or happily partnered, ready to party with friends or have a romantic evening at home, one thing we can all enjoy are these entertaining facts about this highly celebrated holiday.
From countries where women buy men gifts to visiting a flowered skull, this list will share how people have celebrated Valentine’s Day in many different ways around the world and in different times. These are 25 of the coolest, unique and romantic Valentine’s Day facts and traditions from around the world.
When in Rome, do like a “Roman”. While in Italy, you can visit St. Valentine’s skull which is covered in flowers. Why not celebrate by saying thank you to the person this day is named after?
Much like the rest of the world, Mexico celebrates by eating out and giving chocolates and flowers. One big difference is that Mexicans also celebrate friendship and give heart shaped balloons to each other that say “Te Amo” or “I Love You” in Spanish.
Although celebrations like Valentine’s are not encouraged by religious leaders in many Islamic countries, the Pakistani people have started to embrace giving gifts of flowers on this day.
Tu B’av is celebrated on the 15th of Av. It’s an ancient holiday that has recently begun being celebrated again. It’s the Jewish version of a matchmaking celebration.
Women write their phone numbers on oranges and throw them into the nearest river on the seventh day of the seventh month on the Lunar calendar. They hope that the person of their dreams will find the fruit and call them. Fruit vendors tend to find these and sell them as lucky fruits.
Have you ever heard the term “putting lipstick on a pig”? The Germans take it a step further by decorating or including pig statues with dinner and gifts. They’ll commonly include flowers and other fun embellishments. The pig represents luck and lust.
After gaining independence from the Soviet Union, the people of Latvia began celebrating Valentine’s Day by placing stickers on the clothing of friends and family members to show they love them.
Brazilian’s leave love to luck. People place the names of their crushes in a hat. Then they randomly select one and that’s the person they may be destined to marry.
El Día del Cariño is a celebration of the love for your friends, family and romantic partners. People dress up in feathered masks and Mayan outfits to celebrate their love for the people around them.
If you’re looking to get married but are on a budget, Valentine’s is a day for a mass marriage. Thousands of couples gather for a huge ceremony.
February 14th has become National Chocolate’s Day in Ghana. Because they are one of the largest exports of Cocoa, the tourism ministry created this day to celebrate the bean.
Enjoying these Valentine traditions? Then take a look at these 25 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Valentine’s Day.
Slovenia celebrates their crops and fields coming back to life. They walk through the fields barefoot to welcome fertile fields.
If you’re single in China, head to a temple dedicated to the matchmaking gods. There you can pray to meet the person you’ll marry.
England (the middle ages)
While the Charles, Duke of Orleans was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415, he sent a love poem to his wife. This poem still exists today and is credited as the first (still existing) valentine.
South African’s celebrate Valentine’s Day similar to people in the US. One big difference is that younger women will sometimes pin the name of the person they have a crush on their sleeves. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve.
Denmark & Norway
These Scandinavians enjoy a guessing game. Men will send an anonymous poem to the girls they like. They sign them with a dot for each letter of their name. If the woman guesses who the right guy is, he gives her an egg on Easter. If she guesses wrong, she owes him one.
Women would pin bay leaves to the corners and one in the center of their pillows in the 1700’s. They would then chant a poem and fall asleep hoping this ritual would bring dreams of their future husband.
This is a country full of love. In fact the 14th is a “love day” every single month. On February 14th, women will give men a gift. If the men give a gift to the same woman one month later on “White Day”, they’re still in love. If not, the newly single people will eat black noodles with friends to mourn/celebrate their new found freedom.
Ancient Rome (the Christian takeover)
At the end of the 5th centurary, Pope Gelasius declared the pagan ritual “un-christian” outlawing it. He renamed the holiday St. Valentine’s Day and redesigned the rituals to celebrate love. This eventually turned into the traditions we celebrate today.
Ancient Rome (how the celebration began)
Priests would slaughter a goat in a sacrificial cave to pay tribute to the founders of Rome. After they’d walk through the streets where the women would hope to be slapped with the hide in hopes of becoming fertile. Afterwards they would place their names in a large urn. The bachelors would select a name and for the next year, they would be a couple. Many times this resulted in marriage.
Ancient Rome (How the card came to pass)
St. Valentine is rumored to have sent the first love note while imprisoned in ancient Rome. He was in love with the Jailor’s daughter and as he died he left a note saying something like “With Love, from Your Valentine”.
In Japan the men get the gifts on Valentine’s Day. Women buy fancy chocolates and “present” them in hopes that the favor will be returned later in the year.
The French would stand in a room and call out to the people they love around them. If the person responds then they go on a date. The women who were left would gather that evening and burn a photo of the person that rejected them in a large bonfire. This practice got carried away and was eventually outlawed.
On January 25th, the Welsh give each other love spoons. That would be fun to eat with at a dinner party.
The Estonian’s celebrate friendship instead of the person they love. It’s a day to celebrate the relationships you build with the people you care about most.