Despite its Hallmark holiday status—teddy bears, shades of pink and boxes of chocolate lining the shelves—Valentine’s Day also has different meanings for many people around the world. It doesn’t always have to include over-the-top presents or luxurious dinner dates to show your appreciation for the one you love. There are so many unique traditions that take place on Valentine’s Day every year—this post might just inspire you to try one!
In Denmark, rather than sending full-on bouquets, friends and couples exchange pressed white flowers called snowdrops, along with ‘lover’s cards’. Partners also like to give out letters with funny poems or rhymes. If the recipient can guess the sender, they earn themselves an Easter egg later in the year.
For young couples in Korea, women shower their significant others with gifts on Valentine’s Day, only to receive gifts from their significant others a month later on White Day. For those without significant others, they celebrate their single status with black-bean paste noodles called jajangmyeon on Black Day, April 14th.
Celebrated in Britain since the 17th century, Valentine’s Day originated during the Roman Empire, when a Christian priest, Valentine, began to conduct secret engagements of couples, even though they were forbidden. The day before Valentine’s Day, women would place five bay leaves on their pillows (one at every corner, and one in the center), to bring dreams of their future husbands.
In Wales, wooden spoons of different shapes were exchanged, with ornaments of heart shaped locks. In Norfolk, children would anxiously wait for Old Father Valentine to leave candies and small gifts on their doorsteps. Talk about Christmas in February!
Although most Filipino Valentine’s Day celebrations mimic those in Western countries, getting married (or renewing vows) in masses on Valentine’s Day has become increasingly popular lately, and sees hundreds of couples gathering at malls or public areas to tie the knot on the day of love.
Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated in Italy as a garden gathering, where music, friends and poetry alike were enjoyed by young couples. Young, single women looked forward to waking up before sunrise to find their soon-to-be husband. They believed that the first man they saw on Valentine’s Day was the man they’d marry within a year! These days, traditions are similar to those in the West, with gift exchanges and Baci Perugina, small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped with a romantic quote.
Do you have any fun Valentine’s Day traditions? We’d love to hear about them on Instagram or in the comments below!
Happy Valentine’s Day!