Valentine’s Day Around the World

Valentine’s Day Around the World

Love and friendship is in the air this February. Across the globe people will be showing their expressions of love and affection. Some countries celebrate this day of love and friendship on the 14th however, others like Columbia begin on September 7.  However, there are a few countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Malaysia who do not participate because of their religious beliefs. Yet, most are familiar with the the United States custom of Valentines Day celebrated with romantic dinners, chocolate, and flowers.  On the other hand, other countries celebrate love in a different way. 

Puerto Rico, being part of the United States, still has it own identity and culture on this special day. The day is called El dia de los Enamorado in Puerto Rico. Alanys Tuesta a senior in WCHS from Puerto Rico, states, “In Puerto Rico we celebrate el Día de San Valentín pretty similar to how it is celebrated in the U.S. At school you will see little kids exchanging cards and candy. I do think it is important to celebrate because it is a day in which people take their time to makes others feel special and that is always good.” 

Valentine’s Day was first celebrated around the 17th century in the United Kingdom and share similarities in customs with the United States.  As stated in Time and Date, “It is common for couples to eat a romantic meal together on this day, and restaurants are often booked out.” 

Yet other European Countries like Finland, don’t celebrate love on Valentines day, instead they honor friendship. According to Times magazine honoring friends on this day goes by many different names in a variety of European countries. For example they celebrate  Ystävän Päivä in Finnish and Sõbrapäev in Estonian. Friend’s Day is celebrated by single people and couples alike. Families, friends, and couples gather for shared meals and sporting activities like skating or sledding. Jäntti says. “There are no other holidays that recognize that your friends are as important as your family or romantic relationships.” Celebrating the value of friendship is something the Finnish value. 

In the Dominican Republic, Columbia and Honduras, they call  the holiday, “Dia de Amor y Amistad.” In these countries they celebrate love and friendships. For instance, to celebrate lovers exchange small gifts called “cariñitos.” Nora Alkara a junior in WCHS  agrees with celebrating both friendship and love, She explained, “I think Valentine Day is a good occasion to celebrate friendship as well as romantic love, because I think friendship a more bonding than just a romantic love”.

Most of these countries celebrate love or friendship for one day. However, in India they celebrate for a week.  Valentine Day in Hindie is called “लेंटाइन दिनन”. As The Hindustan Times explains, “Rose Day is when people express their love by giving roses to each other. Propose Day. As the name suggests, on this day, people express their feelings to their partner or someone they have a crush on… Chocolate Day, on this day, people forget about all the bitterness in their lives and exchange sweet and delicious chocolates. On the fourth day, people in love gift their partners a cuddly teddy bear. The idea is to give your beloved a plush toy to express your love for the person and make them happy… Promise Day. They mark this day by making promises to stay together through thick and thin, to make their relationships stronger… Hug Day. On this day, people comfort their loved ones by hugging them. Sometimes when words can’t explain an emotion or complicated situation, a hug can solve the problem… Kiss Day is celebrated just before Valentine’s Day, on February 13. Lovers seal their love with a kiss on this day.” 

“I think it’s important to have Valentine’s Day in India because in South Asian culture, display of affection are not common. In fact, our culture discouraged it, because they believed it’s a distraction. This causes the people there to grow up, not showing their love, which could lead into potential problems or miscommunication in their future relationships” Johanna Joji, a freshman in WCHS from India, and her experience.  

In South Africa Valentine’s Day is called “Valentynsdag.” As described in “afrikaanspod101”, “The main theme is romanties, or “romance,” and young couples, in particular, reflect this by going on a nice date together. In South Africa, Valentine’s Day traditions for dates often include going out and doing things with each other…often give their kêrel (“boyfriend”) or meisie (“girlfriend”) a thoughtful gift.” In South Africa, Valentine´s Day has many traditions, like women wear their hearts on their sleeves.  Women pin the names of their love interests on their shirtsleeves, based on an ancient Roman tradition known as Lupercalia. They also have long festivals according to, “backpack the world”. 

No matter your location on the globe, Valentine’s Day is to celebrate your loved ones. From your friends to family. It’s a day to take care of them and show that you love them. Each country has its own tradition but in the very end, it was all about love and how they celebrated it.