Love is the universal language. Everybody is familiar with that feeling of a knot building in your stomach, of butterflies floating inside your chest when you are falling in love. Indeed, love is a feeling understood by all—while many struggle to explain. Instead, people express and communicate it through actions of respect, acceptance, kindness, and patience.
While it may be blah blah, it doesn't mean that people from all parts of the world express or show it the same way, especially during Valentine’s Day. Now that the day of hearts and romance is just around the corner, you might be wondering how people from across the globe express it for there sweetheart. Here are some interesting ways of how the planet celebrate the love—be it between genders, the love for oneself, or a love shared with friends and family.
People would automatically imagine the Latinas and Latinos as people who express everything with passion, thanks to the numerous dramas that feature their culture and traditions. True enough, Argentinians dedicate not a single day to celebrate Valentine’s Day, they spend an entire week! During a week in July, Argentinians observe different acts of love during ‘Sweetness week’. Between the 13th and 20th, lovers exchange kisses for candy, and finish up the week of celebrations with a friendship day as well.
While celebrating Valentine’s day is a relatively new tradition and event, the Chinese people have been commemorating its own version of a day dedicated for love for over centuries now.
Their very own Qixi festival originates from a folklore tale of two star-crossed lovers who didn't have their chance of being together due to uncontrollable circumstances during their lifetime. The story of how a cow-herd fell in love with a King’s daughter is a popular tale in China. The two young lovers were forced apart because of their very different statuses in life and only allowed to reunite on one day a year: the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar.
Today, couples celebrate the festival by going to temples and pray for prosperity. One of the most popular activities is stargazing, where they they look to the heavens as the stars Vega and Altair, which they believe are the cow-herd and the King’s daughter meeting up in the sky for their annual reunion.
The Welsh maybe spending money for gifts that can actually be used rather than roses and teddy bears. If you are dating a man or woman from Wales, don't be surprised and confused if you receive a wooden spoon on Valentine’s Day.
It is a centuries-old tradition believed to be inspired and started by sailors back in the 16th century who hand carved presents for their loved ones while at sea. Young men opt for presenting intricately carved wooden ‘love spoons’ to their sweethearts instead. Up to this date, many believe that the gesture is more personal since it entails hard work and personalization, rather than buying commercially available flowers and other cliché gifts.
The Welsh also believe that rather than professing their love on Valentine’s Day, simultaneous with the world, romance is celebrated on St Dwynwen, their patron saint of lovers, on the 25th of January instead.
Valentine's Day is a popular holiday for young couples in South Korea, in fact, profession of love and couple days are not only celebrated once a year, but throughout the year through variations of the holiday and other cute expressions of young love.
Every February 14th, South Korean women are in charge of giving out chocolates to the man they like or love—be it your boyfriend, or that man you hope to be your sweetheart forever. They hand out sweets like chocolates, candies, cupcakes, and even edible flowers.
The tables turn on March 14th, a local holiday known as the White Day, when boyfriends not only shower their beloved with chocolates and flowers, but also wow them (and the public) with gifts such as giant teddy bears.
Loveless and single during these dates? Don't worry, South Korea still has something for you! On April 14th, they celebrate Black day, a customary for singles to mourn their solitary status by eating dark bowls of jajangmyeon, or black bean-paste noodles, perfect for your dark heart and perspective of love!
Not far, the lovebirds of Japan have something similar with the Koreans. it’s the ladies who spoil the object of their affections with chocolates on the 14th of February, however, it’s the type and the quality of chocolate given that counts and varies depending on your relationship status.
For husbands, boyfriends, or prospective boyfriends, high quality honmei-choco (‘true feeling’) chocolates are hand delivered, made with love and devotion. This is how the Japanese express their true love and affection, as a way of saying they are important and they are worthy of their time and effort.
On the other hand, colleagues and acquaintances will still receive chocolate during the holiday, but it’s giri-choco—known as the ‘obligation chocolate’ which is cheaper and can be store-bought from any convenience store.
What about those who are alone, unlucky, or simply unlikeable? Don't fret! The Japanese women are very considerate to give you something just so you wont feel alone during this day. Look forward to receiving a box of cho-giri choco: ultra-obligation chocolate reserved for the most unpopular of male colleagues.
The Japanese also celebrate White day on March 14th. those who received honmei-choco are expected to return the favor, by giving their loved ones presents—from perfume, jewelry, or even lingerie! They just have to make sure their gift would be worth two to three times the chocolates they received.
Instead of bright red roses and heart-shaped boxes filled with heart-shaped chocolates, Danish couples swap pressed white flowers, called 'snowdrops. This type of flower can mean hope and purity.
Card sending is also popular in Denmark, however, they do it with a twist: a transparent card just showing a picture of the card giver presenting a gift to his sweetheart! On February 14th, men also give women gaekkebrev, a "joking letter" consisting of a funny poem or rhyme written on intricately cut paper and signed only with anonymous dots. If a woman who receives it and who can correctly guess the sender, she earns herself an Easter egg later that year as a reward.
Sick of giving (and receiving) the usual Valentine’s Gifts? Here are some gift ideas that may be outrageously sweet or outrageously crazy for you to try!
If you want something funny—that can be borderline gruesome, make yourself and your lover a gelatin heart with a heart-shaped plastic mold! The twist? It is the anatomical version of the heart organ, which makes eating it more interesting—and crazy at the same time.
All carnivorous couple would celebrate when they found out that there are heart-shaped sirloin cut steaks sold in Texas. The delicious beef part is cutely cut into heart-shaped pieces which is perfect for a romantic dinner for two!
If you’re feeling a little bit generous (read: over the top), why not give and shower your lover with a thousand bouquet—not pieces nor stems—of roses during Valentine’s Day? Think it’s too much? A couple in the Philippines did that, the man also tossed an engagement proposal as a cherry on top. Who can say no to that?
Couples who are spending V-Day apart should not be sad. One useful and endearing gift you can give this year is awristband that picks up your heartbeat and sends it, in real time, to your loved one. They can listen to your heartbeat in your pillow and they can hear yours. No more sleepless nights when you can hear your sweetheart’s heartbeat as a lullaby!