Valentine’s Day… how do you celebrate?

Valentine’s Day… how do you celebrate?

Do you love it, embrace it in all it’s glory, go all out to celebrate your love for that special person?

Or, do you loathe it, wish it never existed and think it’s an over commercialised waste of money?

Valentine’s Day seems to be one of those things, like marmite, that divides the opinions of many people but love it or hate it, the day is fast approaching and is celebrated in many different ways all over the world.

Even here in our little Isles we have different ways of celebrating;

m-llwy010_MEDIn Wales, they celebrate ‘St Dwynwen’s Day'(the patron saint of lovers) on 25th January and it’s customary for a man to present a ‘love spoon’ to a lady they are interested in courting or marrying. These spoons were traditionally hand carved and decorated with various symbols to display love and show off the makers carving skills.

In Scotland, cards, poems and gifts are exchanged by adults and children alike but there is another little Scottish custom that makes their day different. The first young man or woman encountered on the street or elsewhere on Valentine’s Day becomes his or her Valentine and the day is celebrated with them (Hope George Clooney is passing my door!)

Further afield in Finland and Estonia, 14th February is a celebration of friendship. Ystävänpäivä, as it is known in finvalFinland literally translates to ‘Friends Day’. Cards, presents and pink roses are given and received by friends and relatives. It is though, still one of the most popular dates for engagements and weddings.

 

Over in Japan, they do things much differently…Feb 14th has a tradition of women giving chocolates to men. There are two kinds of chocolate given“Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate), and “Honmei-choco”. Giri-choco is meant to be for friends, colleagues, bosses, and close male friends. “Giri” means obligation hence this Giri-手作りチョコchoco has no romance involved. Honmei-choco is given to a boyfriend or husband with true love. Japanese women often prepare the Honmei-choco by themselves as many of them think it is not true love if they just buy the ready made chocolate at shops. On March 14th  ‘White Day’ is celebrated. Men give return gifts to women who gifted them chocolates on Valentine’s Day.

 
In South Korea they follow a similar custom to  Japan, but they then have a third date April 14, known as Black Day. Single friends get  together to eat noodles and celebrate their (lack of) relationship status. The holiday takes its name from the noodle dish, which is white noodles in a black bean sauce.

 

In Guatemala, the day is known as El Día del Cariño. Showing your affection for friends and family is as important as your romantic partner. Guatemala City celebrates with lots of colorful pageantry, with revelers dressing up in feathered masks and Mayan-inspired clothing.

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 On Valentine’s Day in the Philippines, the tradition of mass weddings has become incredibly popular. Hundreds of couples come together to be wed in a massive public ceremony. (Can’t decide if that’s a wedding planners dream or worst nightmare)

 

So whatever your opinion of Valentine’s Day and whatever your romantic status why not use this day as an opportunity to shower some love on your nearest and dearest, your friends and family. It isn’t just about romance, it’s about love and caring.

Happy Valentine’s Day (from an old romantic!) images (17)