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What the World Did On Valentine’s Day

Updated on February 18, 2011

Around the World in 1000 Words

Hearts and Cupid are symbolic of this day. And people almost all over the world acknowledge their special someone on Valentine’s Day. This is the day people show their love for one another with gifts, candy, cards, flowers, romantic dinners, and spending special time with each other. Since the 1800’s when notes were handwritten to today when Valentine’s Day has become the second biggest card exchanging holiday, it is a very popular holiday. According to the U.S. Greeting Card Association approximately 1 billion Valentine cards are given across the globe. Females are the largest card buyers, making up about 85% of the Valentine cards being purchased. People in  the U.S. spent approximately $16 billion dollars to celebrate the day in romantic ways.


How Different Countries Celebrate Valentine's Day

Around the world, many countries have their own special traditions for this day:

  • Italians call Valentine’s Day La Festa Degli Innamorati. Rome is credited with the origination of St. Valentine’s Day. Candies, perfumes, roses, bon bons, and diamonds are traditional gifts as an expression of their love for each other. Baci Perugina chocolates are popular candies given.

  • In the United Kingdom, a fictional character named Jack knocks on the back door of homes to leave gifts and candy for the children. Children are known to sing special songs on this day. The florist shops are filled with flowers and candy, as people exchange sweet gifts. Valentine traditions may vary in different parts of England.

  • In France, they exchange beautiful greeting cards with romantic messages called cartes d'amities. France calls this day La Saint Valentin. Good food and music are an important part of this day in France, with live musicians performing throughout the country. Candies and red roses are popular gifts.
  • Scotland celebrates Valentine’s Day with a dance festival and somtimes weddings would be done at the festival. In yet another Scottish tradition the first female or male that cross each other’s path are each other Valentine’s Day for that day.
  • In Spain, husbands frequently send their wives bouquets of flowers.

  • Norway and Denmark call it Valentinsdag on Feb 14 and give lover’s cards. In Denmark, it is customary to send Snowdrops, which are pressed white flowers to their friends. The men send goekkebrev, a rhyming letter without signing his name, only using dots(one for each letter of his name). This is known as a joking a letter. If the girl guesses the guys name, she gets an easter egg at a later time in the year.
  • Sweden calls this day All Hearts Day - Alla hjärtans dag. This holiday gained popularity through the flower industry. Although it is not an officially recognized holiday, flower and perfumes and cosmetics are so popular, they are only bigger sellers on Mother’s day.

  • Finland celebrates this day as Friends Day Ystävänpäivä, which is a day to honor your friends more than lovers.

  • Romania has recently added Valentine’s Day to their celebrations, but has received a lot of negativity because many believe it is an imported ‘Western’ commercialized holiday, and it interferes with their traditional holiday of love on Feb 24th, called Dragobete.

  • Turkey celebrates Sweet Hearts Day called Sevgililer Günü

  • In Israel, the day of love is known as Av-Tu B’Av, and is celebrated in the latter part of August. Going back to biblical times, girls dressed in white dresses and they would dance in the vineyards where the boys would meet them. Today, Av-Tu B’Av is a popular day to propose marriage and bestow gifts of love to each other.


  • The country of Slovenia is one of the newer countries to celebrate Valentine's Day. In this country, it marks the beginning of Spring. Legend has it that birds marry. In the countryside people start working on the vineyards and celebrate their day of love on March 12.

  • Austrailians exchange gifts in joyous celebration of the gold rush days of long ago when the Ballarat Mines were discovered on Feb 14. Austrailians exchange beautiful colorful shells, fragrant flowers and other gifts as an expression of their love for each other. They dress in red and pink. Chocolate is a popular expression of love, as are romantic candle lit dinners

  • China calls Valentine’s Day Qi Qiao Jie. Daughters who are not married pray for a perfect husband. As a romantic day in the year, people exchange chocolate, gifts and sweets.

  • India is somewhat new in celebrating this holiday. Some people are resistant to Valentine’s Day, as it is a western tradition. Yet others are embracing this as a day to celebrate their love for each other with the exchange of stuffed animals, flowers, cards, candies and jewelry, which is considered the ideal gift for an Indian woman. Wedding proposals are common on this day.

  • Taiwan celebrates Valentine’s Day in the traditional ways.

  • Valentine’s Day is only celebrated by women in Japan. Japanese women give men a token gift as an expression of their love on Feb 14. On Mar 14, Called White Day, men return the gift to their partner. This tradition has only been recently started in 1978 by Japan’s National Confection Industry. White chocolate is commonly given, since the day is known as White Day. Although chocolate is the most common gift, cookies, white lingerie, and jewelry are popular gifts also.

  • In Hong Kong’s financial district couples can have a fast food catered wedding at McDonalds. According to Reuters, The ‘McWeddings’ are decorated with pink balloons, and a wedding cake made of McDonald’s apple pies piled one on top of another. This new service was just started January 2011 and 2 weddings have already been booked. About 70 other couples are considering this venue. For $1,282 they can get golden arches invitations, wedding gifts, decorations with Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar and other acoutrements. You can rent a wedding gown for an additional $165.

  • Brazil, celebrates the Day of the Enamored or Boyfriend Girlfriend day. Dia dos Namorados on June 12.

  • Guatemala celebrates Valentine’s Day by calling it The Day of Affection. Candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged to lovers, friends, peers and colleagues.

London Aquarium Marriage Ceremony, on February 14, 2011.
London Aquarium Marriage Ceremony, on February 14, 2011. | Source
German Flower Shop
German Flower Shop
Ukranian Chocolate Festival opened on February 14, 2011.
Ukranian Chocolate Festival opened on February 14, 2011. | Source
Apples and Cloves are an Iraqi Kurdish tradition on Feb 14.
Apples and Cloves are an Iraqi Kurdish tradition on Feb 14.
 Chinese celebration - gathering of married couples married over 50 years.  Photograph: Guo Bin/EPA
Chinese celebration - gathering of married couples married over 50 years. Photograph: Guo Bin/EPA
Hindu protests against the Western holiday of Valentine's Day.
Hindu protests against the Western holiday of Valentine's Day.
Mass weddings in Manila, Philipines on Valentine's Day.j
Mass weddings in Manila, Philipines on Valentine's Day.j
Florida retirement communitity
Florida retirement communitity
Balloon vendor in Pakistan sells his products on Valentine's Day. AP / Muhammed Muheisen
Balloon vendor in Pakistan sells his products on Valentine's Day. AP / Muhammed Muheisen
South America celebrates  Da del Amor y la Amistad, or "Day of Love and Friendship."
South America celebrates Da del Amor y la Amistad, or "Day of Love and Friendship." | Source
Getting married on top of the Empire State Building in New York City, has become a tradition on Valentine's Day. The newlyweds are both  FDNY  firefighters
Getting married on top of the Empire State Building in New York City, has become a tradition on Valentine's Day. The newlyweds are both FDNY firefighters
McDonald's engagement party in Hong Kong
McDonald's engagement party in Hong Kong
Las Vegas weddings on Valentine's Day are a very common event.
Las Vegas weddings on Valentine's Day are a very common event.
Extreme Weddings
Extreme Weddings | Source

Comments

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    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR

      toknowinfo 

      7 years ago

      HaHa Micky,

      You always make me laugh! Thanks for stopping by.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      I was just shopping that day. Spent hours in that checkout line!

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR

      toknowinfo 

      7 years ago

      I am glad you enjoyed this info about Valentine's Day. It was interesting to put together too.

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 

      7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      I wasn't aware how globally spread valentines day was. great hub, interesting how each county celebrates it a little differently. love the old chinese couple!

    • Erin LeFey profile image

      Erin LeFey 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      This was a great hub! Well researched and great pictures - I really enjoyed it, thank you!

    • Alejendro profile image

      Alejendro Chhangte 

      7 years ago from Aizawl

      I was protesting on Murdering the Cupid :-P

    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Very entertaining. I took a long drive with my love along the ocean and had a picnic.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      An excellent post. I realized that I never really thought about how anyone else celebrated Valentine's Day. Perhaps I even thought it was an American holiday. Silly me!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoyed learning about Valentine’s Day in different countries. The photos were very interesting as well. I like the idea of Friends Day as celebrated in Finland. Valentine’s Day is a good day to celebrate love, but friendship is very important too. I think it’s great that it has its own celebration.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      A picture is worth a thousand words!

      Flag up!

    • profile image

      lyjo 

      7 years ago

      What a beautiful & uplifting hub...I especially like the Chinese tradition of couples married for 50+ years...awesome! Beautiful photographs as well, rated up & awesome & beautiful, take care!

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR

      toknowinfo 

      7 years ago

      I am glad everyone is enjoying this hub! Happy birthday to your daughter too!

    • onceuponatime66 profile image

      Jackie Paulson 

      7 years ago from USA IL

      I love this information wit all the photo's around the world on Valentine's Day. It is such a special day, especially because it is my daughters 17th B day!

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      I give my heart a cheese and chocolate basket.;)

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great Hub!

      My mother used to do the clove stud thing for Christmas, but she did it oranges which also makes a great scent.

    • Rhonda Waits profile image

      Rhonda Musch 

      7 years ago from The Emerald Coast

      Great hub. I loved the under water wedding now that would be a thrill. Voted up.

      Sweet wishes Rhonda

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