Thursday, February 6, 2014

Valentine's Traditions Abroad

With Valentine's Day approaching, I thought it would be fun to examine Valentine's traditions across the world!

England - The tradition of modern Valentine's Day started in England in the 19th century. Flowers (red roses) are the most common gifts and are often sent anomyously.

South Korea - On February 14th women present men in their lives with chocolate.  A month later, on March 14th, the men return the favor.

Taiwan - Once isn't enough!  Valentine's Day is celebrated twice a year - once on February 14th and again on July 7th, which corresponds to February 14th on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The number of roses varies based on the relationship - One rose means you're his "one and only," 11 means you are his "favorite," and 100 roses is a marriage proposal!

Russia - Valentine's is a relatively new tradition, and women are given many types of flowers, not just roses.

Finland - In this country February 14th is "Ystavanpaiva" or "Friend's Day," in which people celebrate not just their loved ones, but their friend's also!

Latin America - Most Latin American countries celebrate "Dia del amor y la amistad" or "Day of Love and Friendship" along with "Amigo secreto" or "Secret Friend" in which a group of friends gives anonymous gifts to one another.

Singapore - Valentine's Day = Big Spending, with 60% of people spending between $100-$500 during the holiday.

Catalonia - Traditional Valentine's Day isn't celebrated, but rather "La Diada de Sant Jordi" or "St. George's Day" is celebrated on April 23rd. Historically, men give women roses while women give men a book.

Japan - The celebration in this country is based solely around chocolate.  In fact, Japan sells half of its annual sales during this holiday! Women give chocolates to the men in their lives, and men return the sweets (but they need to be at least twice the cost), on March 14th's "White Day."

Are you from a country not listed?  Share your Valentine's customs in the comment section below!


  1. We especially like the Taiwan celebration!!! And maybe there should be a Friendship Day in America!!!

    1. Friendship Day - what a nice idea. Thanks!

  2. Hah! I just learned about the Japanese one last week, Liz!

    1. What can I say, great minds think alike!