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How Other Countries Celebrate Valentine’s Day

There is not any country in the World which celebrates Valentine’s Day as a Bank Holiday, none of the governments gives a day of rest – what a pity – even so – one half of the World’s population keeps its own head in clouds while the other half feels an icy indifference as Patrick is acting in the picture.

As an adult, you appreciate the reality of your Valentine’s Day.


However, if we take into consideration that the Valentine’s Day is not – or should not be – just about buying hundreds of cute Teddy Bears or twelve dozen of roses. In several countries, a generally accepted habit that people not only exchange cards, sweets, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine”; they also present their close friends or relatives with a tiny kindness like a chocolate or a cute postcard (mainly electronically). They want to express the love and thoughtfulness to their loved ones.

The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia. The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year.

And now, we tried to collect many strange types of celebration which used to be/or actually are in practise now, or might just be legends. Some of them are not so common so do not be surprised if you are asked something similar like – for example – “What’s wrong with the people?” – in the end.


On this day it was customary for your young people to name the first eligible person (opposite sex) they met on Valentine’s Day as ‘Valentine’. After this, they are supposed to give a gift to their newly meet ‘Valentine’ and pay particular attention to them for a year.


Actually, one of the weirdest habits came from France. Valentine’s Day was the day of freedom for women because they were able to dissolve their marriage or even to cheat on their husband without any consequence. Moreover, the husband must put a good face on it.  

On 14th February, many women feel obliged to give chocolates to all male co-workers, except when the day falls on a Sunday, a holiday. This is known as giri-choko (義理チョコ), from giri (“obligation”) and choko, (“chocolate”), with unpopular co-workers receiving only “ultra-obligatory” chō-giri choko cheap chocolate. This contrasts with honmei-choko (本命チョコ, favorite chocolate), chocolate given to a loved one. Friends, especially girls, may exchange chocolate referred to as tomo-choko (友チョコ); from tomo meaning “friend”. March 14 a “reply day”, where men are expected to return the favour to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day, calling it White Day for the colour of the chocolates being offered. 


In Finland Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä which translates into “Friend’s Day”. Finnish people are more often focused on their friends, instead of their partner. Sending small cards, postcards, small gift to symbolise their friendship.

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, in 2002 and 2008, religious police banned the sale of all Valentine’s Day items, telling shop workers to remove any red items, because the day is considered a Christian holiday. This ban has created a black market for roses and wrapping paper. In 2012 the religious police arrested more than 140 Muslims for celebrating the holiday, and confiscated all red roses from flower shops. Muslims are not allowed to celebrate the holiday, and non-Muslims can celebrate only behind closed doors.


The Dia dos Namorados (lit. “Lovers’ Day”) is celebrated on 12 June, probably because that is the day before Saint Anthony’s day, known there as the marriage saint. The February Valentine’s Day is not celebrated at all because it falls to Brazilian Carnival (that can fall anywhere from early February to early March and lasts almost a week.).


Are you going to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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