At LinguaLinx, we love other cultures! (Valentine’s Day puns always intended.) Sometimes you might wonder how other cultures celebrate holidays, or whether they celebrate a particular holiday at all. On Valentine’s Day, a lot of similar traditions are shared from culture to culture, but each of the following eight adds their own “sweet” touch!
If you love Valentine’s Day, then Argentina is the place to be! They celebrate on February 14th, and then they celebrate for an entire week, “sweetness week,” in July ending with “Friendship Day.”
Brazil does not celebrate its day of love on February 14th, rather June 12th, Dia dos Namorados – Lover’s Day. (Carnival is celebrated in February.) Their “Lover’s Day” celebrations are similar to the ones worldwide, filled with gifts, romance, parties, and decorations.
People in China celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th, but they also have their own traditional day. Qixi Festival is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh Lunar month – usually in August. The holiday comes from a traditional old ancestral story about a love tragedy that has been passed down from one generation to another.
The Danish joke around with Valentine’s Day – literally! They send gaekkebrev – joke letters – to their admirers. The paper is cut into a snowdrop or spring flower, and the sender writes a rhyme or a poem and signs the message with dots, not a name. If the recipient guesses the right person, then they receive an egg at Easter.
In Germany, Valentine’s Day is a very grown-up holiday – no valentines exchanged in schools. The holiday was first celebrated here after WWII. A unique symbol of German Valentine’s Day is the pig. Pigs symbolize luck and lust in Germany, and you can find pigs along with the chocolates, flowers, and hearts!
In Japan, they have two Valentine’s Days. The first, on February 14th, is where females give chocolates to males they admire. Giri Choco is chocolate given in a not-romantic sense to friends, colleagues, or bosses. Honmei Choco is homemade chocolate given to men they are in love with. The second Valentine’s Day – White Day – is celebrated on March 14th. On this day, the men reciprocate with more expensive gifts!
7. South Korea
Koreans celebrate the Westernized Valentine’s Day on February 14th, and also White Day on March 14th, as the Japanese do, but another interesting custom is Black Day, celebrated on April 14th. Black Day is for Koreans who are single. Those singles who observe get together, dress in black and eat black jajangmyeon noodles.
The Taiwanese celebrate Valentine’s Day and White Day, but they have their own special day of love, too, on July 7th. On this traditional holiday, men give women beautiful flowers, and the color and number of flowers sent have a different meaning. A single red rose means only love, eleven roses means a favorite, ninety-nine roses mean forever, and one hundred and eight means “Will you marry me?” Need something translated into one of these or any other languages?