All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.Charles Schulz
You either love it or hate it, but that doesn’t stop Valentine’s Day from being EVERYWHERE beginning the day after Christmas until mid-February. I don’t get super excited for Valentine’s Day, but I love a chance to spoil my boyfriend and to celebrate Galentine’s Day the day before.
In the U.S. we celebrate by gorging on chocolate, going to fancy dinners, and watching rom-coms all night. I love doing this albeit we don’t normally go to a fancy dinner. (Hello burger and fries and then dessert at our favorite local shop). Ever wonder how other cultures and countries celebrate the day of love? If you answered yes, keep reading! You’re going to love this,
If you answered no…well… this is awkward.
St Dwynwen’s Day is the Welsh equivalent of Valentine’s Day and is celebrated on January 25th. St Dwynwen was a princess who lived during the 4th century and was a bit unlucky in love. Ultimately, she decided to become a nun and frequently prayed for couples to have better luck than she did. Now, she’s celebrated as the patron saint of lovers and I can’t express how sweet I think this is.
Instead of chocolate, love spoons are usually exchanged. No, it’s not a boring spoon. It’s intricately carved with symbols representing love. The tradition dates back to the 16th century.
If Fall is more your season, head over to Valencia for the Day of Dionysius, also known as the Communidad de Valenica, on the 9th of October. This date holds special meaning as it’s the day King Jaume I came to Valencia in 1238. During the 18th century, a decree passed forbidding the celebration of King Jaume’s arrival. Candy makers would typically make marzipan treats and decided to protest by making sweets in the shape of firecrackers and other explosives they weren’t allowed to fire off in celebration. (Valencians LOVE fireworks so this was a big deal).
The ban was eventually lifted, but the tradition of making sweets, called Mocadora, in the shape of firecrackers and love symbols remains to this day.
The Sisters’ Meal Festival is the oldest known Asian Valentine’s Day. It’s celebrated April 7-9 and dates back several centuries. During the festivities, girls collect wild flowers and berries to dye rice many different bright colors. Each girl will prepare her rice with a symbol and wraps it, a nod to folklore passed down through the ages.
Girls and women alike are dressed in highly decorated clothing and jewelry, each with its own meaning and purpose. Men will come calling with the intention of finding a wife/partner. The girls will give their wrapped, colorful rice to a man for them to unwrap. The symbol they unwrap will let the man know whether or not he should thank, pursue marriage, and stop wasting his time.
If you’re a romantic, you might want to visit South Korea. It won’t matter which time of year because they celebrate love on the 14th of every month.
- January 14 — Diary Day — Couples buy each other planners for the year
- February 14 — Valentine’s Day — It’s all about the men!V-day is when women are supposed to make the first move or shower their man with chocolate and sweet notes.
- March 14 — White Day — The roles are reversed this month as men are expected to present ladies with flowers, sweets, and other gifts.
- April 14 — Black Day — Single people rejoice! This is the day where singles get together to celebrate being single, trash talk exes, and share a bowl of jjajangmyeon aka black noodles.
- May 14 — Rose Day — Wear yellow and don’t forget the roses. This holiday is used to remind each other of your love or to let singles get together to eat yellow curry.
- June 14 — Kiss Day — Pretty sure this is self explanatory
- July 14 — Silver Day — If you’re getting serious with your significant other, today is the day you meet each other’s parents and exchange promise rings.
- August 14 — Green Day — It’s time to celebrate love out in nature. Take a long, romantic walk in the woods or visit your favorite outdoors date spot. If you’re single, today is the day you’re supposed to booze it up with green bottles of soju.
- September 14 — Photo/Music Day — Get your phones ready because it’s time to take an exorbitant number of selfies together and then go out drinking and singing.
- October 14 — Wine Day — Crack open your favorite bottle and enjoy a glass or three together
- November 14 — Movie Day — Head out to the theater for a film or get your friends together to rent your favorite movies and have a movie marathon!
- December 14 — Hug Day — Yay!!
Celebrated on the 24th of February, Dragobete is a time to recognize and commemorate Spring and love. Known as the ‘day the birds are betrothed’, girls and boys head into the forest to pick flowers.
This holiday has its origins in mythology, specifically the god of love and cheerfulness. This day is less about falling in love and more about never forgetting to celebrate the love you have and show appreciation for the love you already enjoy.
This might be the newest Valentine’s Day tradition, but it’s one I’m ridiculously excited for. Since 2007, Ghana implemented National Chocolate Day on February 14th.
You might not know that Ghana is one of the world’s largest cocoa producing countries and created the holiday to boost tourism to their country. On Valentine’s Day you can find chocolate-themed menus, exhibitions, talks, and everything in between that is connected with chocolate. When can I go?
St Valentin, France
Sorry, Paris. The Village of Love is the most romantic place in France. Three whole days, February 12-14, are dedicated to celebrating love with festivals, decorations, a lover’s garden, and more. They’ve been celebrating here since the 12th century, so they’re 110% professionals.
Forget the love locks, the tree of vows allows you to hang a heart with a love note and love confession on its branches. Maybe you want to do something a little more eternal? Why not plant a tree as a love symbol?