Valentine’s Day is commemorated as a day of love with red hearts, chocolates, and roses. This celebration is almost universally recognized, but other countries also have their own unique traditions that elevate love and friendship. Here are five ways love is celebrated around the world:
- St. Dwynwen’s Day
On January 25, the Welsh commemorate Saint Dwynwen, who’s known as the patron saint of lovers. The story goes that she fell in love with a man she couldn’t marry. Brokenhearted, she devoted her life to God by becoming a nun and continuing to pray for the happiness of true lovers. On this day, it’s tradition to give delicately carved Welsh “love spoons” as presents.
- White Day
In South Korea, it’s customary for women to do the gift-giving on Valentine’s Day. A month later, on March 14, known as White Day, men reciprocate with chocolates, flowers, and presents that are traditionally white.
- Love and Friendship Day
While Valentine’s Day is still celebrated in Colombia, they also honor love and friendship on September 20. Friends get together to have dinner or play a secret Santa-like game where they draw names and give small gifts to each other to commemorate their friendship.
- St. Jordi’s Day
If you like red roses and are a booklover, then visiting Barcelona, Spain on April 23 would be a perfect vacation. On that day, Barcelonians celebrate Saint George who, as legend has it, slayed a dragon to protect his princess. He then gave her a red rose that grew where the dragon’s blood had been spilled. That’s why it’s tradition for men to give red roses to their loves, and, more recently, for women to give books to their significant others.
- St. Gregory’s Day
March 12 in Slovenia is known as Gregorjevo, or Saint Gregory’s Day. This is a celebration of spring and young love. On this day it’s said that birds, who find their mates on Valentine’s Day, get married. Another custom is to give heart-shaped honey cookies to your family and friends and, of course, to spruce up your house with bird décor.
By Kelli Drummer-Avendano
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