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Valentine's Day in Different Cultures

Updated on January 29, 2017

Valentine's Day All Around The World:))

In Turkey we love special days, cI wanted to know how people in Asia, Africa, Middle East celebrated Valentine's day and made a elebrations. A part from religious festivals and National celebrations, we celebrate European and North American holidays like like Women' day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day since a long time.

Valentine's Day entered to our lives lately. Since a decay or so we are celebrating Valentine's Day in cities. The celebrations are not as popular as is in West but especially the young couples like Valentine's day. On February 14th in Istanbul Turkish girls expect to receive rose buds, heard shaped red pillows or small Jewels from their husbands or boyfriends, a romantic dinner at a restaurant or at home is also a part of the celebration How the world celebrates Valantines day ? If you are also curious; please read my hub.

Valentine Celebration In Europe

Valentine's Day in Europe

Europe is so vast and each country can celebrate or not celebrate Valentine's Day, but here are a few:

In Finland, Valentine's Day is called "Friend's day". It is directed at friendships rather than lovers.

In Slovenia Valentine's Day has been celebrated as the day when the first works in the vineyards and on the fields start. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on that day. The day of love is 12 March, the Saint Gregory's day.

In Romania, the traditional holiday for lovers is Dragobete, which is celebrated on February 24. It is named after a character from Romanian folklore who was supposed to be the son of Baba Dochia. Part of his name is the word drag ("dear"). In recent years, Romania has also started celebrating Valentine's Day in the more Westernized way, despite already having Dragobete as a traditional holiday. This has drawn backlash from many groups, particularly nationalist organizations like Noua Dreaptǎ, who condemn Valentine's Day for being superficial, commercialist and imported Western kitsch.

In Norway, Valentines Day is known as Valentinsdagen. Although it's not celebrated as greatly as some other countries some people take time to be romantic with their partner, or send a card to a secret love.

Interesting Facts About Valentine's Day

Did You Know?

The modern day celebration of Valentines Day is believed to begin in France and England.

In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be celebrated around seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes.

In Medieval times, girls ate bizarre foods on St Valentine's Day to dream of their future spouse.

For more information :

There was a belief in the Middle Ages that the first unmarried person (of the opposite sex) you met on the morning of St. Valentine's Day would become your spouse.

The first Valentine gift was sent by Duke of Orleans to his wife, after he was captured in 1415

73% of Valentine's Day flowers are bought by men, whereas women buy only 23% of Valentine flowers.

Around 3% of pet owners prefer to give Valentine gifts to their pets, as they are more grateful than humans.

In oden times, some people believed that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.

The heart is the most common symbol of romantic love. Ancient cultures believed the human soul lived in the heart and its red color is though to be the most romantic.

The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. Since red stands for strong feelings, red rose is a flower of love.

The first Valentine's Day box of chocolates was introduced by Richard Cadbury in 1868.

In Wales, wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on Valentine's Day. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite Valentine decorations on the wooden spoons that meant, "You unlock my heart!"

From Hotel Conrad Istanbul
From Hotel Conrad Istanbul

Valentine's Day In Istanbul

From a Traveler's Eye

I first want to note that this holiday is celebrated in Turkey. I do not know how long it has been celebrated as I suspect it was introduced by merchants hoping to encourage purchases of flowers, candy and expensive jewelry. We have, however, noticed signs all over town, and yesterday we saw lots of flower deliveries.

My Valentine's Day dawned cold and raining, but my enthusiasm was not diminished by the weather. We had an invitation to spend the afternoon and evening with Enigma, who promised us a surprise.

Having received several surprises from enigma in the form of visits to unique places, we were excted about our afternoon.

We started our explorations at the new Historia Mall. Enigma wrote about this mall a couple of weeks ago. It is not far from Sultanahmet, and is right in the middle of a busy urban neighborhood. It is a small mall of four floors, but I loved it. It is like a little jewel in the metropolitan area. You can walk around an entire floor in a short period of time, which I find more appealing than hiking several blocks in a regularly designed mall.

There is a lovely grocery store on the bottom level. I do not know my European brand name stores well, but I suspect they are well represented in the Historia Mall. I know there was a Vakko store. My favorite store was called Home Sweet Home. It had many breathtaking home decorations, as well as luxury bath and bedding. The prices were not bad. I am trying to figure out if I can take home a bedspread and pillow shams, after I have someone measure by bed to see if they have anything that fits it.

We were very luck to have timed our arrival for the introduction of a famous young vocal star in Turkey. He was ushered in by a phalanx of security guards and performed for the crowds of people. I enjoyed his music very much, but could not brave the crowds to get my own autographed copy of his latest CD.

We had a bit of a tea break on one of the upper floors where the food court is located. There was also a nice movie theatre on the top floor.

Following the mall we returned to Sultanahmet to have a quick dinner at Enigma's favorite steam table restaurant in the old city. As soon as we arrived I realized that I had eaten at this restaurant as well. On one of the first days of our current trip, when we were still both recovering from jet lag and illness a friend had taken us there, but I did not note the name of the restaurant or the way we had arrived there.

This is a gem of a steam table restaurant. It is called Karadeniz Imren Lokantasi, and it is officially in the neighborhood of Kadirga. When we went the first time it was by taxi, and the driver just kept asking people until he found it. The fee from Divan Yolu to the restaurant was about 7TL.

We had a lovely meal of various tasty vegetables dishes. My husband had chicken and I had beef cooked it a delicious tomato sauce accompanied by rice and beans. The bill for all four of us was about 40TL, or 10TL/person, about $6USD.

Now it was time for our surprise. Our surprise was located on the grounds of Topkapi Palace, and the owner of the restaurant jumped in the car and guided is through the confusing winding streets until we were near the palace. Then he jumped out to walk back to his restaurant, and once more I am impressed with the kindness of Turkish people.

Our surprise was located in St. Irene's. This charming mosque is located right on the grounds of Topkapi Palace, and I am ashamed to acknowledge that I have never seen it before, nor was I even aware that it existed.

Over 1500 years old, the building began as a Christian church, and was then converted to a mosque. It is a charming building. One always marvels at how people living 1500 years ago had the skills to design and construct a building with soaring domed ceilings without center support. For our purposes we also noted that we were in a perfect acoustical environment, built long before there were such professions as acoustical designers.

The building became part of the Topkapi Museum when the entire property was converted to a museum during Ataturk's time. It was not put to general use until the last twenty years when people realized what a great location it would be for a concert hall.

We were there to see the Mystic Art Festival. This event, held for four nights featured different performers each evening. Enigmas had consulted the calendar and selected the performance he thought we would find most entertaining. He could not have done a better job.

There were two performances. The first was a stunning Opera-quality soprano. Her name is Aysenur Helen Saglam. She is a convert to Islam from the Phillippines, and when she converted she changed her name. This enormously talented lady had a program almost exclusively based on the old testament. She had written several compositions herself, and was sometimes accompanied by her pianist and violinist, but also accompanied herself on the piano and guitar.

Her voice and her message, in that glorious building stole my soul into a rapture of soaring song. It was an unforgettable performance. She sang "We are one. We are not two or three." "Hold my hand. We are brothers and sisters because we all have the same mother and father. Mother Eve and Father Adam."

As if to underscore her message of peace and harmony her performance was followed by the Vartannas Church Chorus. The Armenian Church in Istanbul organized this chorus in 1909, and it has been performing for one hundred years. They performed songs from masses as well as classical numbers by Mozart and other classical composers.

We sat in this 1500 year old building and listened to these songs encouraging the love of mankind. It was a perfect way to celebrate St. Valentine's Day. To give your heart to the joy of the music and the message.

We left St. Irene's and walked through the Topkapi grounds, beautifully lit under golden flood lights, stopping to notice the jewel-lights sparkling across the water in Kadikoy.

Suglam's message echoed in my head in those glorious surroundings. We are all one. We are brothers and sisters. We have the same mother and father....mother Eve and father Adam. All of us....Jew, Christian and Moslem.

I thought for a few minutes about the tragedy of our times. So many societies have spent so much time and so much money on bullets and bombs and bodies to enhance our differences, which are few. How sad that we did not spend this great effort on celebrating our similarities, which are many.

So a huge thank you to Enigma, who organized this outstanding evening, and came with us to make sure we got the full measure of the performance. It was truly a night never to be forgotten.

Valentine's Day in Japan

In Japan, Valentine's Day is celebrated on two different dates...February 14 and March 14. On the first date, the female gives a gift to the male and on the second date...known as White Day and supposedly introduced by a marshmallow company in the 1960s...the male has to return the gift he received on February 14. Thus, strictly speaking, a Japanese female has the luxury of actually choosing her own gift. Chocolate is the most popular gift in Japan. However, since most Japanese females believe that store-bought chocolate is not a gift of true love, they tend to make the confection with their own hands.

"Love looks not with eyes, but with the mind."

William Shakespeare

Cape Town
Cape Town

Valentines Day heart

Diamond Heart Pendant Necklace in 10K White Gold (1/4 cttw) (GH-Color, I1-Clarity)
Diamond Heart Pendant Necklace in 10K White Gold (1/4 cttw) (GH-Color, I1-Clarity)

There are few accessories a woman can wear that create a more striking look than a diamond necklace. This sparkling heart is perfect for Valentines day. It is a true romantic gift.


Romantic South African Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day in South Africa is celebrated with enthusiasm. The day is celebrated on 14th February every year.

Valentine's Tradition in South Africa

Most commonly observed tradition includes going out on a romantic date with one's Valentine. Young couples make it traditional to celebrate the day at a very romantic place. Also, young girls celebrate the occasion by following an old-age Roman festival of 'Lupercalia'. According to this traditional festival, young girls pin their lovers name on their sleeves. At some places, men also follow this custom.

Valentine Celebrations in South Africa

Valentine's Day celebrations begin well in advance in South Africa. Shops and market places are beautifully adorned with fragrant flowers, love symbols like cupid, love birds, hearts and in traditional African style decorations. Week long parties and celebrations take place in various clubs and hotels. These activities highlight the tradition and South African culture. People totally indulge themselves in the African culture and art to celebrate the occasion of Valentine. Be it an old man of 60 or a young lass of 16, the joy of celebrating love is same in everybody.

Different events take place in various parts of South Africa. All the discotheques, pubs and restaurants are completely booked. South Africans as well as tourists attend huge balls where they match their dancing steps and flow in the Valentine mood with different alcoholic beverages. People of South Africa like to visit wildlife parks and sanctuaries with their friends and families. Many other events like river rafting, mountaineering amidst the exotic islands of Cape Town and Johannesburg are main attraction of the day. Luxurious resorts gives the most enthralling view and rated as one of the best place to spend a romantic evening. Apart from this, a very popular small coastal village Hermanus is just the place to be. Grand festivities are marked in the city of Durban, where innumerable tourists flock in large numbers.

New Year Heart
New Year Heart

Chinese Day Of Love

Chinese Valentine's Day is on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar.

In China time zone,

Year 2011 is on August 6, 2011

Year 2012 is on August 23, 2012

Year 2013 is on August 13, 2013

Year 2014 is on August 2, 2014

On the Chinese Valentine's Day, people in love like to go to the temple of Matchmaker and pray for their love and the possible marriage in China. People still single will do the same thing to ask their luck of love in the Matchmaker temple.

The Chinese Valentine's Day is also called The Daughter's Festival. Long ago, Chinese girls always wanted to train themselves having a good handcrafting skill like the Weaving Maid. The skill is essential for their future family. On that night, the unmarried girls may pray for the Weaving Maid star to let them become smarter. When the star Vega is high up in the sky, girls do a test, which is to put a needle on the water surface. If the needle doesn't sink, then girl is already smart enough and ready to find a husband. Girls may ask for any wish, but only one per year.

In some Chinese provinces, people believe that decorating the flowers on the ox's horn on the Chinese Valentine's Day enables to prevent from the disaster. On the night of Valentine's Day, women wash their hair to give it a fresh and shiny outlook. Children wash their face in the next morning of the Valentine's Day using the overnight water in their backyards to have a much more naturally beautiful appearance. Girls throw the five-color ropes, made at Chinese Dragon Boat festival, on the roof for magpies. Magpies will carry ropes to build the bridge.

Valentine's Day

5 stars for Valentine's day

Valentines Day Guestbook Comments

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Only one word to say and that's Awesome .keep doing the best works like it i appreciate it very much do please check my links tooo

    • bibliopola profile imageAUTHOR

      Işın Tuzcular 

      3 years ago from Istanbul

      Thanks :)

    • etaCarinae profile image

      Sara Johnson 

      3 years ago from United States

      Very informative much of this I never knew about Valentine's Day! Voted up!

    • bibliopola profile imageAUTHOR

      Işın Tuzcular 

      5 years ago from Istanbul

      @takkhisa: Thanks:))

    • takkhisa profile image


      5 years ago

      This is a wonderful lens! Thanks for writing this informative lens.

    • bibliopola profile imageAUTHOR

      Işın Tuzcular 

      5 years ago from Istanbul

      @SusanRDavis: Don't worry. There are plenty of goldfinches in the parks, green places in Turkey, I saw many but my husband is not rich:)))

      Thanks for visiting and writing a comment.

    • SusanRDavis profile image

      Susan R. Davis 

      5 years ago from Vancouver

      I've never seen a goldfinch (I don't think so, anyway), and I haven't married a millionaire yet. I don't think my husband would like it if I saw a goldfinch and dumped him for a richer model. I think I'm rich enough in love now. :-)

    • bibliopola profile imageAUTHOR

      Işın Tuzcular 

      6 years ago from Istanbul

      @SophiaStar LM: Thanks:)))

    • SophiaStar LM profile image

      SophiaStar LM 

      6 years ago

      Very interesting, I like to learn how other cultures celebrate holidays, very informative.

    • Brandi Bush profile image


      6 years ago from Maryland

      I like reading about other cultures and their traditions. Nicely done! :) Happy Valentine's Day! <3

    • bibliopola profile imageAUTHOR

      Işın Tuzcular 

      6 years ago from Istanbul

      @mbgphoto: Thanks:)

    • bibliopola profile imageAUTHOR

      Işın Tuzcular 

      6 years ago from Istanbul

      @annieangel1: Thank you.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very interesting information on Valentines Day around the world.

    • bibliopola profile imageAUTHOR

      Işın Tuzcular 

      6 years ago from Istanbul

      @anonymous: Thanks:)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Valentine's Day around the world. Good stuff.

    • annieangel1 profile image


      6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      very interesting


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