Valentine's Day, or at least its spirit (the romantic spirit, not the shopping spirit), is celebrated around the world in tons of cool ways!
For lots of folks out there, there's more to V-Day than flowers and chocolate. Not that we're complaining about the flowers and the chocolate—keep those coming! And check out how these countries show their love.
1. South Africa: Heart On Your Sleeve
Although V-Day is pretty traditional here, there's a twist! Young girls will follow the old-age Roman festival of Lupercalia, pinning their lovers' names on their sleeves. And in some places, men do it too. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve <3
2. Brazil: Magic Love Rituals
In Brazil, the Dia dos Namorados ("Lovers' Day") is celebrated on June 12. Single women perform simpatias, which are little rituals, to find a good husband or boyfriend.
And in case resorting to magic sounds like a good idea this February, here's an example: write the names of your crushes on pieces of paper, roll them up, and put then in a glass of water under the bed. In the morning, the scroll that opened up the most is your true love!
3. Wales: Spooning
That's not the type of spooning we're talking about! Carving Love Spoons is an old tradition in Wales; young men used to carve a spoon from one piece of wood to give that special someone in their lives. The spoons had intricate and beautiful symbols of love like hearts or Celtic knot-work. Although they may no longer be carving the spoon themselves, the tradition lives.
4. Denmark: The Guessing Game
The game is called Gaekkebrev, which is literally "Joke Letters" in English, but the tradition is quite romantic. People write funny rhymes or love notes, and the only hint to the sender is a dot for each letter of their name. If the recipient guesses who the sender is, they get egg on Easter Sunday; if they don't, they to buy the actual sender an egg instead!
5. Philippines: Weddings. Weddings Everywhere.
In the Philippines, masses of couples take advantage of Valentine's Day to get married. Thousands of couples share a one wedding anniversary! Hundreds of them gather at public areas to tie the knot or renew their vows.
6. Japan: Obligatory Chocolate
Women give chocolate to men! At work, the ladies in the office give chocolates to their male co-workers. But, because women feel obliged to give chocolates each man, they give some only the minimum amount. Then on March 14th, men are expected to return the affection on White Day, with gifts two or three times more valuable!
7. Germany: Romance Piggies
Although V-Day is celebrated pretty traditionally in Germany, tons of presents have the added awesomeness of featuring a pig! Yup. Pigs are symbols of lust and luck. You can even find them in provocative poses on chocolates.
8. Thailand: Forget About Sex
Teens in Thailand consider this day the best to lose their virginity. But Bangkok city officials encourage couples to skip getting horizontal and pay a visit to temple and free birds and fish instead! (Freeing caged birds is a Buddhist ritual that improves karma.)
9. Taiwan: The Language Of Flowers
Japan, but reversed. Men give gifts to women on V-Day, and women return them on White Day. Men can also give flowers, paying close attention to number: one red rose means love, eleven roses mean favorite, ninety-nine roses mean forever, and one hundred and eight mean marriage. Swoon.
10. South Korea: All The Single Ladies
In addition to V-Day and White Day, Koreans celebrate April 14: Black Day. Those who did not receive anything on the prior days eat black noodles, called jajangmyeon, and lament their single-ness with other singles. That's dark, yo (pun intended).
11. United States: Itty Bitty Valentines
In U.S. schools, children exchange hundreds of millions tiny valentine cards to signify love, friendship, obligation...anything, really. It's just an excuse for kids to give their favorite Spongebob or Hannah Montana valentine to their best friend.
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