Wednesday 17th January
Valentine’s Day and romantic traditions from around the world
When it comes to love, every country does it a little different. Here are some amazing Valentine's Day traditions from around the world.
Valentine’s Day is pretty new for the Danes (it only became a thing in the 1990s), but they've already built their own unique traditions. Rather than roses, friends and lovers give out pressed white flowers called "snowdrops".
Greeting cards are traditional as well, however transparent cards showing a picture of the card giver presenting a gift is also a unique tradition Denmark have created.
On February 14th, the men are also known to give women gaekkebrev, a “joking letter” which is a funny poem or rhyme written on cut paper and signed anonymously with dots. If a woman receiving a gaekkebrev can correctly guess who sent it, she gets an Easter egg come Easter.
When people think romantic places they always think of France. People also say that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. Card swapping is still popular on Valentine's Day for the French to this day.
Thehe loterie d’amour, or “drawing for love” was also a Valentine's Day tradition in France. Parties would be held where men and women would fill two houses that faced each other and then they take turns calling out to one another and pairing off. Men who weren't happy with their match could just switch to a different woman and the women left unmatched would gather afterward for a bonfire where they burned pictures of the men who wronged them and hurled swears and insults at the opposite sex. This tradition became so out of control however that the French government eventually banned the tradition all together. Doesn't seem like this would go down well in modern times anyway, so perhaps that's a good thing.
Valentine’s Day is a very popular day for young couples in South Korea, but not necessarily just on February 14. Variations of the holiday are celebrated monthly from February to April. February 14th is the day of exchanging gifts, however women will try to impress their men with chocolates, candies and flowers (South Korean obviously have very different wants to Australian men). Then on March 14th, a known as White Day, men spoil their partner with chocolates and flowers and add an extra gift.
Then the third holiday is Black Day on April 14th. This is where it’s pretty much compulsory for singles to basically hate themselves by eating dark bowls of jajangmyeon which is a black bean-paste noodles. How fun!
The Welsh aren't all about Saint Valentine, their guy is Saint Dwynwen who is the Welsh patron saint of lovers and his day is on January 25th.
One traditional romantic Welsh gift on this day is a love spoon (that's not a euphemism by the way). As far back as about the 17th century, Welsh men would carve intricate wooden spoons as a token of affection for a woman they loved. They would carve patterns and symbols which signified a different meaning e.g horseshoes, which stand for good luck; wheels for support and keys as in "the key" to my heart.
Spoons are also exchanged for celebrations such as weddings, anniversaries and births.
The Chinese version of Valentine’s Day in China is Qixi, or the Seventh Night Festival. This occurs on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month each year. According to ancient proverbs Zhinu, a heavenly king’s daughter and a poor man, fell in love, got married and had twins. In a real Romeo and Juliet moment, Zhinu’s father learned of their marriage and sent his wife to bring Zhinu back to the heavens. The king then would only allow Zhinu and Niulang to meet once a year on Qixi. Talk about tough parenting!
So as for modern traditions, during Qixi single women prepare offerings of melon and other fruits to Zhinu in hopes of finding a good husband. Couples meanwhile head to temples to pray for happiness and prosperity. In the night, people will look to the heavens (well, the night sky) to watch as stars Vega and Altair (Zhinu and Niulang, respectively) are in close proximity which symbolises the pair’s annual matchup in the universes most epic long distance relationship.
Valentine’s Day in England sees women place five bay leaves on their pillows. They put one at each corner and one in the centre in the hope it brings dreams of their future husbands. Sometimes they would wet bay leaves with rosewater and place them across their pillows.
In Norfolk they have a Santa-like character known as Jack Valentine. Children will wait to hear Jack Valentine knock at their doors and he'll leave candies and small gifts left on their front porch.
Valentine’s Day in the Philippines is similar to celebrations here in the West however weddings are hugely popular on February 14th. Mass wedding ceremonies are hugely popular in the Philippines in recent years, which sees hundreds of couples head to malls or other public areas around the country to get married or renew their vows as one. Want a cheap wedding, try a bulk buy wedding in the Philippines.
Originally, Italians would have Valentine’s Day as the Spring Festival where young singles gathered outside in gardens or public places to read poetry and listen to music before taking a romantic walk with their lover.
Another Italian Valentine’s Day tradition was that the first man a woman saw on Valentine’s Day was the man she would marry within a year. So young women would get up early (to catch a handsome tradie maybe) and go husband spotting. To make it a little less creepy, the Italians narrowed it down to that he’d at least strongly resemble the man she will marry.
The famous Carnival is held sometime in February or March every year so Brazilians have Dia dos Namorados, or “Lovers’ Day,” on June 12th. Exchanges of chocolates, flowers and cards, music festivals and performances are held throughout the country just like Valentine's Day in other countries. However gift giving isn’t limited to couples and they exchange gifts and have dinner with friends and relatives too. It's almost like a romantic Christmas! Then on June 13 it's Saint Anthony’s Day which honours the patron saint of marriage. On this day, single women will perform rituals called simpatias in the hope that St. Anthony will find them a husband. Think of it as the ancient version of Tinder.
If your Valentine's Day tradition is a romantic meal with your significant other, then Lantern Club has got you covered. With an amazing special Valentine's Day menu and a sensual setting in MaZi restaurant the love of your life will be very impressed. But be fast as tables are limited. Book by calling 8037 8200 or click here to request a table.