The western world is set to celebrate the day of love, February 14th, Valentine’s Day. However, we should understand that not everyone globally celebrates this day the same. While many people worldwide celebrate this day in the western style of gift-giving, chocolate, cards, and flowers, the celebration can differ in other countries. Valentine’s Day is observed differently in many parts of the world. Here are a few unique ways different countries celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Japan is a popular destination for many, and like many places worldwide that have adopted western culture, it also celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14th. Depending on the individual, Valentine’s Day celebration can take on all the attributes of the western celebration of mutual gift-giving of symbols of love. However, in Japan, traditionally, the woman gives the gift of chocolate on Valentine’s Day. It is not until March 14th, on “White Day,” that the men do the gifting, and gifts are usually much more substantial than chocolate.
Like Japan, South Korea also celebrates Valentine’s Day as many westerners do. However, in addition to Valentine’s Day on February 14th and White Day on March 14th, South Korea also adds another day of celebrating love on April 14th known as “Black Day.” This day is set aside for single friends who get together to eat noodles and celebrate being single on this day.
Finland and Estonia.
In Finland and Estonia, Valentine’s Day is not only for lovers; it is a day for celebrating significant others and friends. Cards and gifts are shared with anyone, a neighbor, friend, or lover. It should also be noted that Valentine’s Day is a popular day for getting engaged in both these countries. However, in Estonia, singles can take a special “love bus” in the hopes of meeting someone special.
Traditionally in France, Valentine’s Day is only for lovers. The French consider this the day of love and for people in love, so gifting to friends and others could signal a more substantial interest than intended. Like most western countries, the gifting of chocolate, flowers, and jewelry is similar. However, France sees this day as a day for adults “in” love, not for children or teen crushes.
If you somehow missed the opportunity to show your love by February 14th, don’t despair. Take the opportunity to choose another way of celebrating love from around the world. You can also take the opportunity to save money by making travel plans for a destination and time less commercialized than Valentine’s Day. Do you have a different way of celebrating Valentine’s Day? Show me some love and leave a comment below; I’d like to know.