Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world

Valetine's Day traditions from around the world

Valentine’s Day is one of those traditions people either seem to love or hate. Hopeless romantics will spend the day swooning over the gifts their partner lovingly picked out for them and delivered with a kiss, while sceptics can’t help but roll their eyes at the more commercialised aspects of the day.

If you love the romance, you’ll be in good company as millions of people around the world line up on February 14 to buy red roses and chocolates for their beloved.

If, on the other hand, you find the whole thing a little bit nauseating you’ll love these alternative ways of celebrating the day around the world!

France

Regarded around the world as the country of love and passion, the French once had a surprisingly unromantic tradition for Valentine’s Day. Every year, single men and women would gather in houses that faced each other and take turns calling out to one another to pair up. If the man was unhappy with his match he could dump the woman and choose someone new. Any women who were left standing alone at the end would gather for a bonfire where they would burn pictures and letters from the men who had wronged them and hurs insults across the flames. The whole thing got so out of hand, the government eventually banned it.

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Finland and Estonia

These sweet Scandinavian countries are ditching the romance and making it all about friendships instead! February 14 is official known as Friend’s Day, with people taking the time to show their appreciation for each other. Rather than buying roses and chocolates, it’s all about the personal touch with a nice note and a pat on the back.

Japan

They’re doing things a little differently in Japan, with the women making all the effort and showering their man with gifts on Valentine’s Day. The girlfriends and wives organise presents and sweet notes declaring their love for their significant other and end the day empty handed. A month later though, the roles are reversed and on March 14, the men finally return the favour and offer gifts and flowers to their Valentine.

Norfolk, England

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Instead of making it all about the adults, this English county switched the focus of the day to children instead. A mystical character named Jack Valentine leaves small gifts and cards for sleeping children the night before Valentine’s Day so they have something beautiful to wake up to the next day. While adults still buy presents for each other, for many parents the focus of the day is on their children instead to remind them they are loved and special.

Saudi Arabia

If you really despise Valentine’s Day, Saudi Arabia is the country for you! The romantic holiday has been banned here, with the country practising a strict law that makes it illegal for men and women to be affectionate in public. It’s a Valentine Grinch’s dream come true!

Will you be doing anything special for Valentine’s Day? Which of these traditions do you wish we had here?

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