The image of a young angel shooting heart-shaped arrowheads to enamoured couples all around the world is engrained in our heads. Spain even uses the word “flechazo” to refer to love at first sight. However, not all cultures view the celebration of love in this manner. From countries where women are responsible for gift giving to other countries where philia is celebrated instead of eros, here are some different ways Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world.
A good ole box of chocolate (Western Europe and North America)
Chocolate has been a staple valentine snack since the late 19th century. The aphrodisiac delight is the real star on the 14th as up to 58 million pounds of chocolate are reportedly purchased by Americans alone in the seven days leading up to the holiday.
Mass wedding celebrations (Philippines)
February 14th is the perfect day to celebrate love. It can be difficult to resist the sweet scent of passion and excitement that permeates the air and makes anyone profess their undying love for their soulmate. This is why young Pinoy couples use this opportunity to get married in a unison matrimonial service. Indeed, the government encourages this by sponsoring the ceremony.
Spoil Your Boyfriend Day (Japan)
Even though around the world men usually gift women an item or an experience, the Land of the Rising Sun does things a little bit different. A woman would give a gift to her male counterpart. However, there is a catch.
There are three levels of affection, and the gift represents what the woman feels about the man. For husbands, boyfriends or ‘serious candidates’ you have the Honmei-choco (‘true feeling’) chocolates. Friends or acquaintances receive Giri-choco (the cheaper ‘obligation chocolate’), while the unlikeable bunch receives a box of Cho-Giri-choco, an ultra-obligation chocolate box reserved for the most unpopular men.
Valentine’s Week (Argentina)
The land of seduction and tango cannot celebrate Saint Valentine’s in just one day. Argentines dedicate one whole week to celebrating love. Every year, friends and lovers exchange gifts, including sweets, during Valentine’s Day week. This week, appropriately, usually ends with “Friendship Day”.
Does she love me? (South-West China)
Sisters’ Meal Festival occurs in Guizhou on the third lunar month. Girls rush to the mountains to collect wildflowers and berries to dye glutinous rice. Afterwards, the women prepare a variety of colourful rice dishes for the guys who usually stop by. The girls will receive them graciously, and the guys will request “sisters’ rice” from them upon departure. The relationship will depend on the items within the rice. The pine needle signals to the guy that he should present silk threads and crewel needles to the girl as a token of appreciation. Having chopsticks or a red petal inside indicates that the girl is hoping for a marriage proposal. However, a garlic clove or pepper means the romance ends before it even begins.
We hope you enjoyed learning how valentine’s day is celebrated around the world. How are you planning on celebrating Valentine’s this year? Are you going to go out with your significant other? Or perhaps have a nice evening date at home? Regardless of how you decide to celebrate it, you can always find the perfect gift at American Food Mart.