This is how Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world
Discover the most original and surprising traditions to celebrate lovers’ day.
Although it is now one of the sweetest celebrations on the calendar, the origin of Valentine's Day lies, like most Judeo-Christian festivities, in pagan traditions. The feast, which began on February 15 in ancient Rome, were the Lupercalia, an initiatory ritual for Roman teenagers that consisted of leaving them some time in the forest to survive by hunting.
The origin of Saint Valentine is a pagan festival celebrated in Ancient Rome that included the sacrifice of a goat and men parading naked.
In the fifth century it was Pope Gelasius I who forbade the celebration of Lupercalias and installed the previous day, February 14, in its place as a Valentine's Day party. The festival took root and in 1415 the Duke of Orleans (France) gave his wife the first card designed specifically for this holiday.
This innocent gesture has over time turned into an industry that moves 7,500 million dollars a year. We review the most original traditions that are celebrated around the world.
The first Valentine’s card was given by the Duke of Orleans to his wife in 1415. We do not know whether it had a red heart drawn or glitter.
In Prague they prefer to celebrate love on May 1. On that date, the lovers in this city visit the Petřín park and kiss under a cherry tree in bloom. The tradition is based on a beautiful poem by the romantic author Karel Hynek Mácha called "Maj" (May). Mácha has his effigy in the place, of course.
Others who ignore the Christian tradition and forget about February 14. If, by chance, you are in love and live in Wales, you must celebrate St. Dwynwen's Day (January 25). On this date the men give the girls hand-carved wooden spoons. The tradition is inspired by the gift that the sailors brought after a long journey. They themselves carved the wood to while away the time on the high seas.
In Wales the men give carved wooden spoons with intricate details.
But if you do not have a partner and you hate walking alone on the street on this date, nothing like an express visit to this Nordic country that on February 14 celebrates the day of friendship. With a more open (and probably healthier) view of love, in Finland you can give cards and gifts to both your friends and your partner.
Danish men send funny poems to women. These are the gaekkebrev, which are signed anonymously with a series of points (as many as letters there are in the name). If the person who receives it guesses the name, they will later receive an Easter egg.
Like the Finns, the Estonians also celebrate love and friendship at the same time. However, if that is no comfort for singles, they have the "love bus" on this date, which can be boarded free to find a partner.
In Estonia they suggest getting on a “love bus” to find a partner.
Germans have a peculiarity when it comes to celebrating Valentine's Day: pigs. In addition to flowers, chocolates and other trifles, lovers exchange piglets (either chocolates, cookies or figurines) to give luck to the couple.
The Jewish tradition points to the festivity of Tu B'Av as that dedicated to love. It is a minor date without established rituals for its celebration, which has been assumed as the Jewish version of Valentine's Day. It is a day for "romance, explored from dance, music, flowers and study" while it is considered a good date for weddings, engagements and renewal of vows.
The Philippines has taken on the Anglo-Saxon tradition of Valentine's Day, taking it to its ultimate consequences, for every year, mass weddings are organised on February 14 with hundreds of couples marrying in unison.
For some years the Filipinos have taken advantage of Valentine’s Day to organise mass weddings with hundreds of couples.
The Japanese spend huge amounts on chocolate and bonbons on this date each year. It is the Giri Choco that they must give to all the men in their lives (relatives, partners, friends, but also bosses or and workmates). Such is the avalanche that there are different types of sweets that indicate the degree of proximity and affection of the person.
The African country is one of the main producers of cocoa in the world. So they decided to keep Valentine's Day to themselves and turn it into chocolate day, a party that aims to enact the benefits of cocoa and encourage consumption.
South African women place paper hearts on their sleeves with the names of the people they are interested in.
By Helena Almanza