Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 to honor two saints by the name of Valentinus. But let’s be real. It’s a day that you better not forget to get your woman chocolates and flowers. Although the holiday is cringe worthy for single folks and couples who don’t particularly fancy romances, the cultural holiday is celebrated in many regions around the world. Historical references of the first Valentine’s Day date back to the 14th century and the chubby dude we know as Cupid was first referenced in Greek Mythology. But enough about the background info and let’s get to the soppy stuff with Rad Season’s first take on Valentine’s Day traditions around the world.
Danes take part in a comical affair of sending their secret admirers “snowdrops,” or pressed white flowers with their traditional Valentine’s Day cards. Also included is what is called a gaekkebrev, or “joke letters” which are original poems with intricate cuts on the paper. The letter is signed with unhelpful dots which makes it incredibly hard for the recipient to know who sent it. If the woman guesses right, she receives an Easter egg by spring!
Dates: Feb. 14
Valentine’s Day is truly a local celebration in Deutchland as lovers participate in the exchanging of chocolates, flowers and a pig! It can be in the form of a picture, chocolate or mini statue representing luck and lust. Large ginger cookies are also traditionalized in the shape of a heart with the saying “Ich liebe dich” (I love you).
Dates: Feb. 14
Ghana is one of the world’s most known source of cacao beans making this chocolate inspired holiday an absolute hit in West Africa. In recent years, the government has heavily promoted Valentine’s Day as a way to increase tourism with chocolate-themed exhibitions and restaurant menus. Parties and discos rock the night on Ghana’s National Chocolate Day.
Dates: Feb. 14
Men will be happy to know that they are the ones in fact that will be showered with chocolate gifts. The traditional “Giri Choco” is presented to the man by the woman and if additional affection is chosen to be shown, the woman will create a handmade gift. Don’t think you’re off the hook fellas. Thirty days later on March 14th, males must return the favor with chocolates and affection on what is called “White Day.”
Dates: Feb. 14 and March 14
Also known as the Night of Seven, the Qixi Festival draws its history from nearly 2,000 years ago. The tradition recalls a love story tragedy of two stars in our galaxy. A fairy named Zhinu and a young mortal man named Niulang fell in love at first sight. The Goddess of Heaven became so upset she separated the two with the Milky Way. The east side of the galaxy represents the girl and the west represents the man as they weep for each other’s presence. Once a year the stars meet during the Qixi celebration of love.
Dates: July 7
Dating back to Pagan times, the Dragobete holiday began as a celebration of spring. Boys and girls spent the day playing in the woods until sunset. The boys would chase their female counterparts home, catch up to them and kiss the ones that they planned on marrying. The tradition has long since stopped but the day of love continues on.
Dates: Feb. 24
St. Gregory’s Day marks the start of spring and the ultimate day of love in Slovenia. In folklore tradition, locals have a saying that birds get married on this day which opens up romances to us humans as well. The longest-standing tradition with the holiday is the exchange of scrumptious heart-shaped honey cookies. Bird figures are usually present to fit the holiday theme.
Dates: March 12
St. Dwynwen is the Welsh holiday of romance and was considered the patron saint of lovers. As tradition has it, Dwynwen had fallen for a man after she had gotten engaged. She turned her life to god and became a nun, praying that true lovers would have better luck than she did. In today’s times, couples exchange gifts and cards while taking walks on deserted beaches after a candlelit dinner.
Dates: Jan. 25
Spring time in Brazil may be one of the most hectic, but also the most fun. For lovers looking to celebrate, the country hosts their annual Dia dos Namorados in the summertime. Cards, flowers and chocolates are exchanged and a day filled with musical performances in the city and town-centres brings together family and lovers alike. Get to Brazil a few weeks early to experience the ultimate party of Carnival before your romantic getaway.
Dates: June 12
If you are single and managed to make it to bottom of our list then this celebration is for you! If you dread V-Day or happen to be single, head over to Finland for Ystavanpaiva, or Friend’s Day. The customary cards, candy and flowers still run rampant but they are delivered to best friends instead of lovers. There really is a holiday out there for everyone!
Dates: Feb. 14
Feature image credit: Boris KasimovLast updated on Jan 14, 2019