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Valentine’s Day around the world
In the UK and many other countries, St Valentine’s Day is a celebration of romantic love that falls on 14th February each year. However, some countries have adapted traditions to celebrate the day in a slightly different way and certain ones observe a different date. We’ve taken a look at a selection of the more unique ways of celebrating this special day, around the world.
The romantically inclined Argentinian celebrates “sweetness week” in July. This is an occasion originally dreamt up as a confectionary marketing campaign for lovers to exchange kisses, as well as chocolates and other sweet treats, but quickly adopted wholesale by this romantic nation.
“Dia dos Namorados” or the “day of lovers” is celebrated in Brazil on 12th June each year. Couples exchange cards, flowers and gifts, whilst family meals are also commonplace on the day.
In Wales, people celebrate on 25th January, which is known as “the day of San Dwynwen” (the Welsh saint of lovers). Couples exchange handcrafted wooden love spoons on the day.
The Chinese version of Valentine’s Day has been celebrated for centuries. The festival of Qixi originates from a folklore tale of two star-crossed lovers and falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month (typically in early August) each year. Traditionally, young women prepare offerings of fruit in the hope of finding a good husband, and couples visit temples to pray for happiness and prosperity.
In Japan, on 14th February it’s women that buy gifts for their companions or lovers, who then return the favour a month later, on 14th March, known as “white day”.
In South Korea, couples celebrate the day of love on the 14th of each month. In May this is “the day of kisses” whilst in December it’s “the day of hugs”. April is when single people celebrate “the black day” by eating a consolatory dish of black noodles.
In the Philippines, many young couples take advantage of a state-sponsored Valentine’s Day to get married en-masse, in what is one of the most striking of spectacles of its kind in the world.
Romanians celebrate a blend of Valentine’s Day and the start of spring, on 24th February each year. Young couples head to the forests of Romania to pick colourful flowers, whilst others wash their faces with snow for good luck.
St Valentine is one of the patron saints of spring in Slovenia, where 14th February marks the first day of working in the fields for the New Year. It isn’t until St Gregory’s Day on 12th March that romantic Slovenians celebrate their love for one another.
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