Love Around The World

February is recognized as the month of love but this theme is often emphasized on the 14th day,  Saint Valentine’s Day. Many people around the globe have different ways of expressing their love to their partners. In the United States, heart-shaped chocolates, red roses, or sweet love cards are typically given to that special someone. Usually in elementary schools, children drop small candies or cards into classmates’ bags.

However, in Denmark, there are three popular traditional activities for celebrating Valentine’s Day: Custom of White Flowers, Lover’s Card, and the Tradition of Gaekkebrev. For the Custom of White Flowers, people send white flowers called ‘snowdrops’ to their lovers and friends. The tradition of the Lover’s Card is the most popular and romantic Valentine’s Day custom in Denmark. These cards come in the form of transparent material that reflect the picture of a lover presenting their beloved a gift when held in front of a light. Lastly, young couples write beautiful romantic love notes and some funny poems known as a ‘gaekkebrev’.

In Japan, only women do the gifting on Valentine’s Day. They gift chocolates to their friends and family however, there are more specific chocolates they give out. Women can either give ‘giri-choco’ or ‘honmei-choco’. ‘Honmei-Choco’ is homemade chocolate given with romantic intent. On March 12th, White Day, the men who received the chocolates will gift back in return either white roses or white chocolates.

South Korea’s traditions are similar to Japan’s; they also have a White Day. The only difference in South Korea’s White Day is that they have a day marked out to celebrate love every month. This concludes that South Koreans have 12 days of love every year. These days range from Yellow Day, when couples exchange roses and wear yellow, to Black Day, where singles wear black and eat black bean sauce noodles (jajangmyeon). Although this sounds upsetting during that day, it is a great way for singles to unite together and maybe fall in love with someone!

In China, Valentine’s Day is celebrated along with the Qixi Festival. The festival is inspired by the love story between a celestial weaver girl and a mortal cowherd. The girl’s father, the Emperor of Heaven, disapproved the match and separated the couple, only allowing them to meet for one day out of the year. The story is told that on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the couple met face to face. Thus, the Qixi festival is also referred to as the Double Seven Festival, or the Daughter’s Festival. On this day, every year, those who are single make a trip to the temple to pray for their relationship status in the coming year. While moved by the weaver girl and cowherd’s romance, these singles hope for a more optimistic outcome for their relationships.

Throughout the world, Valentine’s Day is a holiday where love is shared with family, friends, and partners.