Aside from New Year’s Day and Christmas Season, Valentine’s Day is the next best occasion that everyone looks forward to each year. The only difference is that it has not been considered or declared as a non-working holiday, like some of the festivities and occasions that we have on the calendar. Who would have thought that the historical background of it was derived from the undying belief of Saint Valentine during the early part of Christianism, wherein he performed secretly marriages among soldiers, and for actively reaffirming beliefs as Christian followers? It resulted to his martyrdom, and according to some who have witnessed his agony prior to his last execution, he sent a letter to his daughter that ends with his signature of “from your Valentine”. It was later called as Saint Valentine’s Day or Feast of Valentine’s Day. It becomes center into a Romantic gesture in showing special affection and devotion to others by 15th century, where couples send gifts and other presents like flowers and greeting cards that became the symbol of love. It has flourished being well respected by 19th century, wherein mass production of greeting cards have been printed out and sold. Let us check other ways that other countries do in celebrating this day by knowing these top 10 Valentine’s Day traditions on earth.
10. Mass Weddings
Just like other celebrations in western countries, Filipinos in the Philippines have flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards being sent to their loved ones. However, one of the weirdest ways that you could hear being done during this day is their mass weddings performed in public or other specific places in certain provinces and cities in the Philippines. In fact, prior to this big day, couples who are living together, but are not bounded by legal matrimony through a wedding ceremony, are given opportunity to partake of the privileges freely without cost.
9. Peaceful Demonstrations
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If everyone is excited in demonstrating their love towards their special someone, people in Zimbabwe show it through peaceful demonstrations too. This is lead yearly by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise, and they dress themselves in red and white while disseminating messages written in cards and paper roses. It encourages awareness to let everyone know that they have the right and opportunity to get education, receive health care, and to stop oppression from the government.
8. Love Spoons
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During the 17th century in Wales, people have been celebrating Valentine’s day every 25th of January, wherein the romantic highlight of it is the giving of love spoons, which are carved out of wood, along with symbols and patterns that represent or signify meanings about the person that they wish to give the love spoon. This tradition is not just limited during Valentine’s Day, but even during births, weddings, and anniversaries.
7. Valentine’s Carol
If there is a traditional Christmas carol during Christmas season, British children during the 18th and 19th centuries were singing Valentine’s songs from door to door in the community, and of course, they ask for gifts, pennies, treats, and fruits, which is similar to the Christmas tradition. The lyrics of these songs have been preserved, and indeed kids symbolize the kind of love for them that they can give and offer to everyone even it’s not Valentine’s day or even Christmas.
In Korea, people start celebrating Valentines at the start of February until April, but it is more of a gift giving because there are certain days where men and women are allowed to give gifts from chocolates to flowers. February 14 to March 13 will be for women, and when March 14 begins, it sends signals to men that it is their turn. For single women, they celebrate it on 14 April by munching black bean paste noodles as a symbolism of mourning for their solitary position.
5. Sweet Dreams Indeed
English women in the 17th century believed and practiced that putting five pieces of bay leaves to their pillows the night before Valentine’s Day would help them see their future husband through dreams. Some are doing some variations over time, wherein they are sprinkling bay leaves along with rosewater and place them together across the pillows that they have. Other things that they do are to sleep on the right position and recite softly the words based on their folklore account in order to try its efficacy.
4. Gloves and Love
When you hear the word gloves, you will automatically associate it in world-class sports for men where Manny Pacquiao has been known for, which is boxing. However, in the latter part of the 16th century under the Elizabeth era, gloves are symbolisms of Valentine’s gift to women. It’s done when women approach the men that they like and recite this line while handling a pair of gloves: “Good-morrow Valentine, I go today; To wear for you, what you must pay; A pair of gloves next Easter Day”. Of course, it is expected that men should send back a pair of gloves to women, and if they are fortunate to see women wearing the gloves that they sent, it means that the feelings is mutual. Men, on the other hand do not need to wait for invitation, they could also send an invitation by sending a pair of gloves, and the response could be determined if it is worn or not on next Easter day.
3. Drawing for Love
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It is true that one of the romantic places that you can visit and spend your Valentine’s Day with your special someone is in Paris, where you could see and visit the legendary Eiffel Tower. Nonetheless, aside from the greeting cards that they have started, another tradition that they are doing for a long time is the drawing for love, wherein houses that are faced one another would be filled that day. Each would take turns in calling out to one another in order to have a successful pairing off, but if this would not work out, the man could leave to find another woman. To those women who are still unmatched at the end of the day, they would gather during the bonfire at night, which is highlighted by the burning of pictures.
2. A Ballot Box
If we have modern online dating, set-up date, and others during Valentine’s day, in ancient Rome, they did it differently, which was another sign of the highest form of conservatism, wherein both men and women would write their names in the paper and place them all in the box. Whoever men drew from the box, they would start paying attention to the picked woman. Although there were suggestions of changing their real names into saint’s names, but it did not push through. In fact, it’s one of the most exciting time in the year, where men find real partners and love because of this unique and conservative dating game.
1. Exchanges of Pressed White Flowers
Among all the countries that have been mentioned on this list, Denmark is the only one that joined the yearly celebration of Valentine’s Day at the latter part of the 19th century. Of course, exchanges of flowers is still evident and one of the sweetest activities to reciprocate love towards your significant others, but to the people in Denmark, they do it by exchanging pressed white flowers not just among lovers, but even with friends.