Valentine’s Day is on the way, and how to better anticipate its arrival than by reading up on Valentine’s Day traditions, past and present, from all around the world! We’ll look at:
- South Africa
Valentine’s Day in England
In the East Anglia county of Norfolk, Jack Valentine leaves candies and little gifts on porches. He drops the treasures, knocks and disappears before even the speediest of children – and adults – can get to the door. Traditionally, these visits occur on Valentine’s Eve. As far as we know, Jack has never been caught in the act unless it’s for a PR photo op, and on those rare occasions when he is spotted, he is sporting a top hat and tails.
Valentine’s Day in Wales
Who cares about Jack Valentine in Wales when you’ve got Saint Dwynwen, patron saint of lovers. And the Welsh get a head start by celebrating their special day of love on January 25th. Historically, one way that Welsh men showed women they cared was by making a love spoon. Love spoons were made of wood, intricately carved and included symbols such as horseshoes for luck, bells for marriage and locks for security. The spoons were also a way for men to show a woman’s father that he could support a wife and was skilled at woodworking.
Valentine’s Day in South Africa
On February 14th, South African women have been known to pin the names of their beloved on their sleeves. This tradition has presented women a unique opportunity to let men know they like them – if that man doesn’t know already. The custom is said to originate with the holiday, Lupercalia which dates back to ancient Rome.
Valentine’s Day in the Philippines
Filipinos go all out on Valentine’s Day with thousands opting to make February 14th their wedding day. The weddings often take place en masse in parking lots and malls. It’s also considered a great day for the happily married to renew their vows.
Valentine’s Day in France
Many will tell you that there’s no better place on Valentine’s Day than France, especially Paris. It is thought that the first Valentine cards originated in the 1400s when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while he was a prisoner of the English.
Today, Valentine’s Day in France is all about chocolates, champagne and pastries. The French have yet to tire of sipping wine on the Seine or smooching beneath the Eiffel Tower, and of course, the French still send their loved ones plenty of Valentines.
Related: Read our recent post from on Valentine’s Day in Japan
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