All of the world there are all kinds of Valentines Day traditions, it’s interesting to see how it is celebrated in other parts of the world:
Australia. During the gold rush in Australia, miners who were lucky with finding lots of gold were willing and wanted to pay pricey sums for intricate and decorative valentines. The most flamboyant of valentines in Australia was made of a satin perfumed cushion. These cushions were often designed with colored shells, flowers, taxidermied with humming birds or birds of paradise that adorned it. This cushion would usually be contained in a neatly decorated box, which was considered fashionable, expensive and of high standing.
Brazil. In Brazil Valentine’s Day is celebrated on June 12 and is called “Dia dos Namorados” (“The Day of the Enamored”). This celebration commemorates the day before Saint Anthony’s day (Saint Anthony is know as the marriage saint in Brazil). Different from other countries, only couples celebrate this day and there is no card exchange between friends and family.
China. The Chinese also celebrate Valentine’s Day on a different day; theirs is celebrated on August 11. There festival is known as “Qi Xi”, or “The Festival of the Double Sevens”. It is called this because this festival is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month on the Chinese calendar. This festival is a colorful and rich celebration where young woman will commonly showcase domestic arts as watermelon and melon carving. Many couples visit the Temple of Matchmaker where they pray for their love or if they are single, ask for luck in finding a true love.
Denmark. In Denmark there are laughable love notes that are called “gaekkebrev” which aren’t serious, but more laughable valentine love notes. The sender signs their name in dots (each dot representing a letter of the sender’s name) and if the receiver guesses the correct name of the sender, then in Easter time they would get a candy egg. It is common in Denmark to swap candy snowdrops (pressed white flowers) and love poems. “A lover’s card”, which is what is known as a Danish valentine’s day card would come in the form of a transparency and when held up to the light it showed a picture of a lover handing their love a gift.
England. A very popular tradition in England during the 1700’s on the Eve of Valentine’s Day was for women to pin five bay leaves sprinkled with rose water to their pillows (a bay leaf pinned to the center and a bay leaf to each corner). Eggs that had their yokes removed and salt put instead were eaten before retiring for the evening and before going to sleep, the woman would recite a little prayer: “Good valentine, be kind to me; In dreams, let me my true love see.” If this charm worked, then the woman would see her future husband in her dreams.
Another tradition was when a woman would write the names of her sweethearts on small scraps of paper and would place them on clay balls. The balls would then be dropped into water. The belief was that the first scrap paper to surface on water would be the man destined to be the future spouse. Another traditional way a young woman could see the appearance of her future spouse (and if she was brave and curious enough…) was to visit a graveyard at midnight on the Eve of Saint Valentine’s Day and sing a specific chant while running around the church twelve times.
France. There was a custom in France called “Une Loterie D’Amour” (“A drawing for love”) where young and old single people would go into houses facing each other and start calling out across from one window to another. They would choose an unmarried woman that way and if the man ended up not fancying the woman, he would desert her. As a result of that the deserted woman would light a bonfire and burn images of the man while she would yell out all kinds of nasty things about him. The custom of lighting the bonfire was eventually deserted because it left too much room for nastiness, ridicule or even malice.
Israel. Part of Jewish tradition is to celebrate the day of love on the 15th day of the month of Av (from the Jewish calendar, “Tubeav” – which is usually late August). This is the Jews celebration of love, commonly a time to pronounce love, give gifts and flowers and even propose marriage. It was a custom in ancient times that girls wearing white dresses would dance in vineyards (where the boys would be waiting).
Japan. There are two different dates for Valentines Day in Japan- February 14th and March 14th. Ladies buy chocolate for men in Feb. and men return the favor in March. There are two types of chocolates Japanese woman give: one type of chocolate, which is called “kiri-choco”, is bought for friends and close relatives (it doesn’t have any romantic significance). The second type of chocolate is called “hon-mei”, which is specifically bought for romancing a boyfriend, lover or spouse. On the 14th of March (the White Day) the men present gifts of chocolate to all the ladies who remembered them on Valentines Day. The color of the chocolate is usually white because of the name of the day as “The White Day”.
Korea. Has similar customs as Japan, but for Koreans there is also an additional “Black Day”, which is held on the 14th of April. Compared to “The White Day”, “The Black Day” is for men who didn’t receive anything for Valentine’s Day. It is common for those men to gather together and eat a dish called “Jajangmyun”, which is a noodles dish in black sauce.
Scotland. In Scotland there is a Scottish love festival. An equal number of single women and men attend this festival and each person writes their name on a piece of paper, putting it into a hat (basically two hats, one for the men’s names and one for the women’s). The ladies choose a name out of the men’s hat and the men choose a name out of the ladies’ hat. Each might end up with two valentines but the man is supposed to stick with the valentine lady who has chosen him. After everyone is paired, gifts are given to the ladies and they wear the name of their valentine over their heart or on their sleeve. There is much joy and dancing and possibly even weddings, which are celebrated in this Scottish love festival.
How “I Love You” is said around the world
“Une te dua” (Albanian)
“Ana Behibak” (Arabic – to a male)
“Ana Behibek” (Arabic – to a female)
“Maite zaitut” (Basque)
“I mog di narrisch gern” (Bavarian)
“Ami tomake bhalobashi” (Bengali)
“Obicham te” (Bulgarian)
“Chit pa de” (Burmese)
“Bon sro lanh oon” (Cambodian)
“Moi oiy neya” (Cantonese)
“Testimo molt” (Catalan)
“Wo ai ni” (Chinese)
“Ja vlim tebe” (Croatian)
“Miluji te” (Czech)
“Jeg elsker Dig” (Danish)
“Ik hou van jou” (Dutch)
“I love you” (English)
“Mina armastan sind” (Estonian)
“Mahal ka ta” (Filipino)
“Mina rakkastan sinua” (Finnish)
“Je t’aime” (French)
“Thaim in grabh leat” (Gaelic)
“Ich liebe dich” (German)
“Aloha wau la oe” (Hawaiian)
“Ani ohev otach” (Hebrew – male to female)
“Ani ohev otcha” (Hebrew – male to male)
“Ani ohevet otcha” (Hebrew – female to male)
“Ani ohevet otach” (Hebrew – female to female)
“Mai tumase pyar karata hun” (Hindi – male to female)
“Mai tumase pyar karati hun” (Hindi – female to male)
“Se ret lay” (Hungarian)
“Eg elska thig” (Icelandic)
“Saya cinta padamu” (Indonesian)
“Ti amo” (Italian – to a lover, spouse)
“Ti voglio bene” (Italian – to a friend or relative)
“Ai Shite Imasu” (Japanese)
“Kulo tresno” (Javanese)
“Tangsinul srang ha yo” (Korean)
“Te Amo” (Latin)
“Es milu tevi” (Latvian – pronounced “Ess tevy meeloo”)
“Tave myliu” (Lithuanian)
“Te sakam” (Macedonian)
“Saya Cintamu” (Malaysian)
“ien Ihnhobbok” (Maltese)
“Bi chamd khairtai” (Mongolian)
“Ayor anosh’ni” (Navaho)
“Eg elskar deg” (Norwegian)
“Mujhe Tumse Muhabbat Hai” (Pakistani)
“Du stet daram” (Persian)
“Kocham Cie” (Polish)
“Mai taunu pyar karda” (Punjabi)
“Te iu besc” (Romanian)
“Ya lyublyu tyebya” (Russian)
“ljubim te” (Serbian)
“lubim ta” (Slovak)
“Te amo” (Spanish)
“Naku penda (followed by the person’s name)” (Swahili)
“Jag alskar dig” (Swedish)
“Ua Here Vau Ia Oe” (Tahitian)
“Khao Raak Thoe” (Thai)
“Seni seviyorum” (Turkish)
“Ja tebe koKHAju” (Ukrainian)
“Em ye^u anh” (Vietnamese)
“Ich libe dich” (Yiddish)
“Ya te volim” (Yugoslavian)
“Mena Tanda Wena” (Zulu)