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A Day of Love Celebrated Around the World

How Other Countries Celebrate Valentine’s Day


Day Love Celebrated World“Te quiero,” “ti amo,” “je t’adore,” or simply, “I love you.” Valentine’s Day means different things to the many people around the world, and it also carries with it traditions that vary from country to country.

In the United States, Valentine’s Day is viewed as a holiday meant for people to express love and appreciation for one another. Customarily, cards and flowers, as well as chocolate and various candies, are exchanged as gifts. Most of these items are usually in the shape of hearts and are either red or pink. One of the most popular things for couples in the United States to do on Valentine’s Day is to have dinner or attend parties.

From a young age, children in the US also take part in Valentine’s Day festivities. In many elementary and middle schools, students give handmade cards to each other and exchange holiday candy. Kristin Kleinberg, a first year student, said, “Some of my best Valentine’s Day memories are spending the day with my friends or seeing the look on my mother’s face when my father would get her something really great for Valentine’s Day.”

Much like in the US, in Britain people exchange flowers and candy with one another, but a significant difference is the singing children. According to theholidayspot.com, in Britain, children sing special songs about the holiday, and they are rewarded with candy, fruits, or money. Baking is also a British Valentine’s Day tradition. People bake valentine buns with caraway seeds, plums, or raisins.

Also, in Britain, one month prior to Valentine’s Day, tabloids and magazines publish poems to commemorate the holiday. The tradition stems from British poets who wrote love poems, as well as the romantic versus associated with Saint Valentine.

Presently, Valentine’s Day in Italy is celebrated in a fashion similar to the way it is celebrated in the US, but in the past, Valentine’s Day in Italy was celebrated as a Spring Festival. According to stvalentinesday.org, “Young people would gather in tree arbors or ornamental gardens and enjoy listening to music and poetry readings.” Over time, the tradition has ceased and the holiday has become an ordinary holiday celebration with standard traditions used throughout the world. However, a Valentine’s Day gift that is very popular among young people in Italy is Baci Perugina, a small, chocolate covered hazelnut containing a small slip of paper with a romantic poetic quote in four languages.

Similarly to the way Valentine’s Day used to be celebrated in Italy, Valentine’s Day in Japan and Korea is not only a oneday celebration. The celebration begins on February 14, but it does not end until March 14, which is known as the “White Day.” Contrary to the common belief that it is the men who are to give women candy on Valentine’s Day, in Japan, women give chocolates or gifts to the men they love, and oftentimes, the women make the chocolates and candies themselves. Women can also give gifts to any man who is close to them, such as male friends, and this tradition if referred to as “girichoco.” March 14 in Japan is the day when men who received gifts or chocolates from women are to return the favor.

In Denmark, Valentine’s Day is viewed as a day for the young. They refer to Valentine’s cards as “lover’s card,” and previously, these cards were translucent, so when held near light, the card reflected the picture of someone handing their lover a gift. According to the holiday spot. Com, another Danish tradition is to send pressed white flowers called snowdrops to friends. Danish men also send what they refer to as the “gaekkebrev” or “joking letter.”

The letter is a romantic letter that contains a poem or rhyme written by the sender. However, the sender does not sign his name. Instead, he uses dots; one dot for each letter in his name. The woman who received the letter is to guess who sent it to her, and if she guesses correctly, the man will give her an Easter egg during Eastertide.

Although people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day in many ways, the underlying concept of the day is the same in all countries. The purpose of the holiday is for couples to express their love to their significant others and to do something nice for one another. People tend to forget that the significance of the day is not to criticize whether or not you were given roses and diamonds or whether your significant other treated you to a fancy dinner at a high end, exclusive restaurant. Kleinberg said, “I believe that Valentine’s Day is a greeting card holiday. Couples shouldn’t just give gifts and be romantic toward each other only on February 14; they should show love and romance to each other every day.” Over time, people lose sight of what the day is truly about, which is showing your loved ones how much you care.

PHOTO COURTESY of sakura-zen.com