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Unusual Valentine’s Day traditions

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Unusual Valentine’s Day traditions

Love is in the air for some of us this month, but we don’t all mark romance the same way on February 14th…

Valentine’s Day is dedicated to expressing love and affection towards loved ones, and while the essence of the celebration remains the same, traditions associated with the day of love vary significantly around the world. With this in mind, the team at Preply has compiled a list of unusual Valentine’s Day traditions from around the world, to show that the 14th of February hasn’t always been about flowers and chocolates:

1. Philippines – Mass weddings

In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is not traditionally celebrated with chocolates or a romantic dinner. Instead, for over a decade Filipinos have cultivated the tradition of organising mass weddings and celebrating the day of love together.

Filipinos believe that celebrating an important day in this way has a positive impact on strengthening family and social ties.

2. Germany – Love pig

Pig instead of Cupid? For Germans, this is the ultimate proof of love! In German culture, pigs in any variety of forms are a popular gift among lovers as it is believed that the pig is a symbol of prosperity and desire.

Germans also gift their partners large heart-shaped ginger cookies called lebkuchen which often have a love note inside.

3. England – Bay leaves

In the 1700s, rural Englishwomen would attach five bay leaves to their pillows the night before Valentine’s Day – four on the corners and one in the middle.

It was believed that doing this tradition would help them dream of their future husband.

4.  Romania – Elixir of melted snow

The traditional Romanian lovers’ day falls on the 24th of February and is known as Dragobete, after the Romanian Guardian of Love. Today, the 24th of February is a popular date to get engaged in Romania.

According to ancient traditions, young people venture into the forests to pick the first flowers of spring. Women also collected snow which they melted for magical potions throughout the rest of the year. It’s believed they were also supposed to wash their faces with snow to attract happiness into their life.

5. Italy – Letters to Juliet

Italian Valentine’s traditions vary from one part of the country to another. In the Vico del Gargano region, cities are decorated with thousands of oranges. In Verona (the city of Romeo and Juliet) there is a four-day love festival during which there is a competition to write a letter to Juliet.

Superstitious Italian women also believe that the first man they see on Valentine’s Day, the 14th of February, will become their husband.

6. Wales – Wooden spoons

The traditional ‘Welsh Valentine’s Day’ is celebrated on the 25th of January and is known as ‘Dydd Santes Dwynwen’ or ‘St Dwynwen’s Day’.

To celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day, the Welsh give their loved ones hand-carved wooden spoons, a tradition that dates back to the 17th century. Patterns and symbols were carved into these love spoons, each with a different meaning. To this day, love spoons are an important symbol of love throughout Wales.

7. South Korea – Celebration of love

In South Korea, Valentine’s Day is divided into several parts and is celebrated virtually every month. On the 14th day of each month, a different holiday is celebrated, often related to the celebration of love.

White Day, a sequel to Valentine’s Day, is celebrated in March when men express their affection or love towards women by giving them gifts in return for the ones they received a month earlier on the 14th of February. Following this is Rose Day in May, Kissing Day in June, and Hugs Day in December.

One of the most interesting is on the 14th of April when Black Day is celebrated. This is dedicated to singles who celebrate the day alone, dressing in black and eating Jajangmyeon – a dish of black noodles.

8. South Africa – A heart on its sleeve

In South Africa, the idiom “wear your heart on your sleeve” is taken quite literally. On the 15th of February, individuals celebrate the holiday by pinning a heart with the name of a loved one on their sleeve.

This tradition’s roots can be found in ancient Rome and is a reference to the Roman festival of Lupercalia, considered the prototype of Valentine’s Day.

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