Valentine’s Day is just within reach. In most countries, the day is celebrated with heart-shaped candy, chocolates, and fresh cut roses—but every place does it their own way. Here’s a look at some less-than expected celebrations from around the world:
Although it’s believed that the first-ever Valentine’s Day card originated in France, la fête de Saint-Valentin is not as fancy there as in the US. In a more simple approach, the French celebrate this day with their lovers, and often bring gifts and flowers that usually come with romantic greeting cards.
The way Japan celebrates Valentine’s day is pretty distinct from the rest of the world. On February 14th of every year, women buy gifts and chocolates for their male lovers. On March 14th, known as “White Day”, the favor is returned as men buy gifts for their lovers.
The same goes for South Korea, where women gift their lovers with tokens of affection and men can’t return gifts until “White Day”. However, South Korea also observes a day for singles. On April 14th, known as “Black Day”, singles indulge in a bowl of black noodles, the renowned jajangmyeon.
Filipinos have been celebrating Valentine's Day with mass weddings for over a decade, which means the event caters to multiple couples at the same time. Sponsored by the government as a form of public service, February 14th is a meaningful day for young people and their families.
As the second-largest cocoa exporter in the world, Ghana not only celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14th, it’s also National Chocolate Day. Events, dinners, and tastings are held all over the country to promote the cacao bean, Ghana’s top agricultural export.
Estonia doesn’t limit what kind of love can be celebrated on Valentine’s Day. Instead of a day dedicated to couples, the Estonian Valentine’s Day is more centered around the celebration of love in all our relationships. Which means that friends, family, colleagues, and even pets get showered with gifts.
This one might be the cutest one yet. Believe it or not, people in Germany exchange pig-shaped gifts on Valentine’s Day. The pig is the symbol of love, so couples buy each other pig figurines and stuffed animals. However, flowers and chocolates are also shared.
In Taiwan, lovers often give bouquets of flowers to each other, but with a twist—the color and number of flowers have hidden meanings. Red roses mean “you’re my one and only” whereas 99 roses mean “I will love you forever”. But if you receive a bouquet with 108 roses, someone is asking you to marry them!
If you’re a wine enthusiast, you’ll appreciate this one. People in Bulgaria celebrate San Trifon Zartan on February 14th, which means “day of winemakers”. Therefore, couples celebrate their love with a glass of exquisite local wine—simple but meaningful.
Friends and family in Denmark exchange handmade cards that range from touching to hilarious. Some might even send an anonymous joke letter using a signature written only using dots called a "gaekkebrev”, which translates to snowdrop letter. If the recipient guesses the identity of the sender, they are owed an egg at Easter. If guessed incorrectly, they must give the sender an Easter egg instead.