The stage has been set: The chocolates have been stocked; the roses have been plucked and the teddy bears have been bought. If you haven’t guessed it already, yes, Valentine’s Day is here!
14th of February has been officially deemed as the Day of Love in most parts of the world, a day when lovers express their feelings for their admired ones by means of buying them gifts, a practice that has made Valentine’s Day the consumerist holiday that it is today.
While a large part of the world will struggle to make a reservation at that fancy restaurant, or buy a rose stem 100 bucks a piece, come the 14th of this month, some countries will celebrate the day a little differently. We take a look at some of the unconventional Valentine’s Day traditions across the globe, and bring them to you to take inspiration from, so that you can boast about spending your Valentine’s Day in an uncliched way this year. Read and take a cue:
1 Japan White Day
In a welcome relief from traditional gender roles, it is the ladies in Japan that are expected to do the big spending on Valentine’s Day and spoil their partners with chocolates and luxurious items. However, the process of gift-giving doesn’t end here.
Japan also celebrates something called the White Day which falls on March 14, one month after Valentine’s Day, wherein men who received gifts on Valentine’s Day are expected to reciprocate the women’s gestures. Traditional White Day gifts include everything from cookies, jewellery, and white chocolate to lingerie.
2 Estonia Friends’ Day
Like most of the rest of the world, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th in Estonia. However, in an attempt to include everybody in the celebrations and festivities, single-or-otherwise, Feb 14th in Estonia is called ‘sobrapaev’ which literally translates to ‘Friends’ Day’.
Non-romantic relationships are acknowledged as friends and family members exchange cards and gifts among each other. Notably, it is also an important day to tie the knot or get engaged among couples.
3 Denmark Snowdrops and gaekkebrev
Adding their own twist to the celebration of the Day of Love, a festival that has only recently gained popularity in Denmark, the Danish people instead of giving their loved ones or admirers roses, present them with pressed white flowers aka Snowdrops along with the regular Valentine’s Day cards.
Another important tradition that is observed on the 14th of February in Denmark is that of giving ‘gaekkebrev’, a funny poem or a rhyme written on an intricately cut piece of paper, sent anonymously. If the receiver is able to guess the sender correctly, they are promised an Easter egg later in the year.
4 Ghana Chocolate Day
Ghana is one of the largest cocoa exporters in the world. In an attempt to celebrate and acknowledge the contribution of Ghana to the worldwide chocolate industry, Ghana’s tourism industry, in 2007, re-branded Valentine’s Day so that now it is called the National Chocolate Day.
While the celebration of the day is similar to the methods practiced in the West, the locals also indulge in chocolate themed meals at restaurants, visit museum exhibits and give each other chocolates.
5 Philippines Mass weddings
While Valentine’s Day celebrations are akin to those in the Western countries, what makes Philippines’ celebration of Feb 14 unique is that thousands of couples share a wedding day. ‘Mass weddings’ have gained popularity in the Philippines in the recent years, wherein a large number of couples gather in public areas to get married or renew their vows.
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