With Valentine’s Day round the corner, stores and shops are flooded with candy hearts, chocolates and teddy bears.
Every country has its own way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. From exchanging wooden spoons and pig inspired gifts, to special holidays for the loveless to mourn their single status over black noodles, Valentine’s traditions in other countries are as interesting as they are weird.
Take a look at nine of them:
Gifts and delicacies derived from, or inspired by, pigs are plentiful in the country over Valentine’s Day, as pigs are seen as a symbol of luck and lust. Further, kids are not allowed to celebrate the day in Germany – it’s strictly for adults.
In Italy, the day is a lovers only holiday, Sharon Schweitzer, the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide told Reader’s Digest. If you’re not in love, the day is a normal one for you.
Instead of popular red roses, Snowdrops are the flower of choice in Denmark. Danish men are also known to send women funny poems, called gaekkebrev, which are signed anonymously. If the receiver can guess who sent the letter, he’ll give her an Easter egg, come that holiday.
Although Valentine’s Day is gaining more popularity in China, the Chinese have a festival called Qixi, often called “Chinese Valentine’s Day”. It’s celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month in the Chinese calendar, which usually falls in August. Women have been known to traditionally pray for a husband, or to gain great sewing skills, on the day.
- Czech Republic
Although Valentine’s Day is acknowledged, the country’s main day of love is on May 1, when lovers kiss under cherry trees for happiness and good health.
- South Korea
On Valentine’s Day in South Korea, women buy chocolates for men. One month later, on a day called White Day, men have to splash out for the ladies, if their feelings are mutual. And for those who don’t have much to celebrate on either Valentine’s Day or White Day, there is a third holiday called Black Day on April 14. It’s customary for singletons to “mourn” their solitary status by eating dark bowls of jajangmyeon, or black bean paste noodles, on this day.
- South Africa
While Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the country, a special mass wedding takes place at one of Cape Town’s most iconic tourist and historical venues, Robben Island, on February 14. The annual event has taken place for almost 20 years.