Valentine’s Day is coming, and while here in the US we may exchange cards and gifts and candy and sexy lingerie (scandalous I know), in other countries they have their own special ways of celebrating this time of love. Such as in Japan, where guys and gals actually have TWO different days to celebrate. On February 14th the ladies give their guys gifts of dark chocolates – sometimes store bought but often made by hand to show just how much they care. Then on “White Day” – March 14th – it is the guys’ time to reciprocate by giving their gals white chocolates or cookies.
If you travel to South Korea on Valentine’s Day, you’ll be easily able to spot the couples in the crowds, as they’ll be wearing matching or similar outfits. They also celebrate in a similar fashion as Japan with chocolates to men on Valentine’s Day, white chocolates to women on White Day, and a “Black Day” (April 14th) where singles celebrate together by eating noodles.
While in America it is a day celebrated by lovers as well as family and friends, in countries such as Spain Valentine’s Day is only a day for those in love to exchange cards and gifts. In Taiwan it is a reversal of Japanese celebrations, with men giving their loves chocolate on Valentine’s Day and ladies giving their men chocolate on White Day. And in Finland it is known as Friendship Day and is celebrated by everyone by gifting cards and tokens of affection to all who are considered friends.
There are some parts of the world where celebrating Valentine’s Day is more age-specific. In places such as India and Nepal, boys and girls of college age and older are free to give gifts to each other on this day, while those that are younger are not supposed to do so. Many high school students make a game of sneaking love notes to one another on Valentine’s Day, however. Speaking of fun and games, in Norfolk, England they have Jack Valentine, who is much like Santa Claus in that he brings treats and presents to children on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
Wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate this year, we hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with love and happiness and chocolate and fun!
- Mia V.