Valentines Day, the international day of love and affection, is a date celebrated all around the world. Some express their undying love with flowers, chocolates and heartfelt poetry. While others choose to demonstrate their devotion in more daring ways – like gifting ornately carved lovespoons or trekking through frozen fields barefoot!
If you’re looking for a new and improved way to show your love – you’ve come to the right place! We’ve listed 10 weird and wonderful Valentine’s Day gestures from across the globe to give you some inspiration for this year’s February 14th.
On Valentine’s Day in Thailand, the Trimurti shrine is often imbued with red roses, candles and incense laid by women who are unrequited in love. This arrangement is a gesture for the Hindu gods in which women will come and pray to for a husband.
If Tinder isn’t working out for you, making an offering might do the trick!
If praying to ancient God’s isn’t your thing, why not try handcrafting a traditional Welsh wooden lovespoon? Those in Wales tend to celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day (Welsh Valentine’s Day) by paying tribute to the Welsh patron saint of lovers and gift their lovers with picturesque wooden carved spoons.
3. Iraqi Kurds
Stuck on what to do for the apple of your eye on Valentine’s Day? In Kurdish tradition, decorating red apples with cloves is the only gift to offer your partner on Valentine’s Day. It is believed that the preservation of a red apple with cloves symbolizes Adam & Eve’s relation with the apple, representing eternal love and prosperity.
What do you get a chocoholic for Valentine’s Day? Chocolate of course! As Ghana is one of the world’s most famous cocoa bean producers, it’s no surprise that Ghanaians celebrate Valentine’s Day gifting abundant amounts of handcrafted chocolate to their loved ones. Fittingly, the government decided to name the 14th of February National Chocolate Day.
If you haven’t found yourself a Valentine for this year, don’t panic! In Finland, February 14th is dedicated to celebrating friendship instead of romance. On Ystävänpäivä (Friendship Day), the nation exchanges cards, presents or chocolate with the greeting ‘Happy Friends Day’.
Just the words you’ve been waiting to hear from your crush!
6. Czech Republic
If your idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day includes a little kiss with your dearly beloved, why not include this tradition from the Czech Republic? In the Czech Republic, the 14th of February marks the date where many couples kiss beneath a cherry blossom tree, a tradition believed to bring good luck for the year ahead.
Unlike many other countries, Valentine’s Day in Slovenia is not about the lovey-dovey stuff. Instead, February 14th marks the beginning of working in the fields and is observed as a spring festival. It is also believed to be the day that birds ‘propose’ to each other, marking the start of the mating season. In order to bear witness to the occasion, one must walk barefoot through frozen fields. Slovenians celebrate their annual day of love on March 12th, also known as St Gregory’s Day.
In Norway, Valentine’s Day is traditionally celebrated with Gaekkebrev (Joke Letters) – stick around, it’s a lot more romantic than it sounds! Secret admirers write poems to their lovers and then cut detailed patterns into the paper. The previously mentioned ‘joke’ is played as the letter remains anonymous, with only a dot for each letter of their name left as the signature. If the admiree guesses who their admirer is, they win an Easter egg, and if not, then they owe an Easter egg to their secret admirer.
9. South Africa
Though South Africans do celebrate their love with flowers, chocolates, and candlelit dinners, it is also tradition in some cultures to wear their heart on their sleeve – literally! Originating from an old-age Roman festival called ‘Lupercalia’, some South African’s wear a heart shaped nametag with their sweetheart’s name on their sleeve for the day to prove their bravery and devotion.
If you’re looking to make a grand gesture this February 14th – Valentine’s Day in the Philippines is the way to do it! Every year on this day, hundreds of couples gather in public places to either propose or be married all together. This is a way of allowing underprivileged couples the opportunity to tie the knot as the entire celebration is sponsored by the government.
Now you know 10 different Valentine’s Day traditions from across the globe, why not make your own tradition at Ambiente Tapas? To find out more about booking a table for Valentine’s Day, click here.