Valentine’s Day Celebrated Around the World

Valentine’s Day dates back to the Lupercalia, the Pagan Roman festival of fertility.  A day set aside for Love Lotteries in Pagan Rome.  Valentine’s Day in the United States has grown into the 2nd most popular holiday.  The holiday is celebrated in many countries around the world and the celebration often mimics the American style of celebrating – greeting cards to lovers, friends, and schoolmates, candies & chocolates, and romantic dinners.

Valentine’s Day also has some special celebrations around the world:

In Scotland, Valentine’s Day is celebrated with a festival where equal number of unmarried men and women, write their name on a piece of paper which is then place in a hat = one hat for females and one for men.  The participants then draw names from the hat and gifts are given to the ladies.  The ladies would then pin their partner’s names over their heart or on their sleeve.

In other areas of Scotland, the first unmarried man or woman encountered by chance, on the street, becomes the individual’s Valentine.

In Iraq apples are decorated with cloves and offered to their partners.  The preservation of the red apple with the cloves is a Kurdish tradition on the feast of love symbolizing Adam and Eve’s relation with the apple representing their love.

In France, Valentine’s Day has not always been nice.  A custom known as “drawing for” where unmarried individuals would go into houses, face each other and began calling out across from one window to another, eventually pairing off into the chosen partner.  If the man was not enamored with his valentine, he would desert her.  The ladies would then fold a bonfire and but the images of their former sweethearts, while verbally abusing him.  The French Government handed down a formal decree banning the custom due to the nastiness, ridicule and malice.

In China matchmaker events are held in public parks.  A handwritten profile, similar to what you would find on an online dating site, is pinned to trees and bushes.  The details include her age, income, career, and other desired traits.  This event is organized by dating companies and often paid for by parents hoping to find partners for their children.

Throughout Asia there are often many “love celebrations”

  • In Japan on Valentine’s Day – February 14th, the lady gives a gift the man, and on White Day, celebrated March 14th, the man returns the gift to his lady.   Thus, a Japanese female get so select her own gift.
  •  Like Japan Korea has the same traditions as Japan, although on Valentine’s Day a female gives chocolate to her man.  And on White Day young men confess their love to their sweethearts.  Korea also celebrates Black Day on April 14th, where individuals without romantic partners get together and enjoy Jajong Noodles, which are black in color.
  • In Taiwan there is a double celebration.  On February 14 & July 7th Valentine’s Day is celebrated.  Men purchase flowers on both of these dates and the color and type of roses holds much significance ~
    1 red rose = an only love
    11 roses = a favorite
    99 roses = forever
    108 = marry me

Courtesy of & The Atlantic  (Feb 14, 2011)

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