Let’s Talk About Love
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you’ve probably already seen stores filled to the brim with red streamers, chocolate-filled hearts, roses in every color imaginable, and teddy bears bigger than you. While the United States has a way of using February 14th for business and cheesy pick-up lines, not all countries are focused on these items to show affection. Let’s take a look at these 4 countries that have their traditional spin on Valentine’s Day: the day of love, friendship, and appreciation for each other.
- France – France has a known reputation for being one of the most romantic destinations of the world. With that, Valentine’s Day is a celebration for those romantically involved, but a roasting session for the single ones. One tradition, that is actually now banned, was the custom called loterie d’amour, or drawing for love. In this custom, single men and women would move around from house to house in a neighborhood, yelling out for each other from opposite windows, and pairing off with the person that they chose to be with. If a man was not satisfied with the partner he chose, he had the freedom to leave her for another woman. The women leftover would gather at a bonfire later on and burn pictures of the men that betrayed them and throw insults at them.
- The Philippines – Rarely do we see mass weddings in the United States. In the Philippines, it’s the completely opposite! February 14 is actually one of the most common wedding anniversary dates. Hundreds of couples every year gather together to say their “I do’s” or even just to renew their vows. No better way to celebrate intimacy than with 500 other couples around you.
- South Africa – Ever wonder about the phrase, “wear your heart on your sleeve”? It comes from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, where young girls would pin the names of their love interests literally on their sleeves. This way, the men found out about their long-awaited secret admirers and had the choice to pursue them or not.
- South Korea and Japan – Celebrating Valentine’s Day? Let the girls do the work! On this day in both South Korea and Japan, it’s a tradition that the women shower men with gifts and chocolate, chocolate being the specialty. Giri-choco is a chocolate you give to a male colleague, something out of courtesy, but nobody you have feelings for. Hanmei-choco is a chocolate you give to your love interest, the man you really care for. But don’t get too comfy yet, boys. On March 14, otherwise known as White Day, the men must reciprocate by giving all sorts of gifts (white gifts are optional – white chocolate, white lingerie), sometimes doubling the value of what the women originally bought. One month later, April 14, is lastly known as Black Day – those who did not receive gifts on either day get together dressed in black and eat black food, AKA the great depression. In South Korea, Jajangmyeon is usually eaten – noodles in black bean paste.
Written by Winona Zaky