Valentine’s Day is celebrated in a variety of ways around the world. Each with its unique traditions and customs. Whether it’s giving someone half a dozen Red Roses, chocolates, or cards. Or even gifts like jewellery. There are several different methods for celebrating love in countries across the globe!
💡From Israel to Vietnam, Canada to the Philippines and everywhere between, here is a glimpse into how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in some countries (and cultures!) around the world.
So join us as we explore this special Day together!
History of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is a memorable holiday celebrated since ancient times to honour the spirit of love. The ancient Roman festival Lupercalia was held at the ides of February each year. It included a celebration of young lovers and fertility. When Valentine’s Day eventually became associated with love, it was known first as an English courtly tradition during the Middle Ages.
The idea of sending cards and gifts in recognition of a shared affection was popularised in England in the 1700s by a writer who suggested writing anonymous letters under the label “From your Valentine.”
The holiday became more widely celebrated with the rise of commercialism in the 1800s. This ushered in the custom we recognize today. Exchanging cards, flowers (like red roses), chocolates, and other gifts between loved ones on February 14th to express devotion and mutual affection.
Valentine’s Day Traditions Around the World That Make the Day of Love Special
Valentine’s Day is a special day for many worldwide. Its customs and traditions can vary from country to country. So, let’s take a look at some of the most famous Valentine’s Day festivities and practices found in different countries around the globe!
1. Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Israel
In Israel, Valentine’s Day is celebrated as Tu B’Av. A holiday that traditionally marks the beginning of the harvest season. It was once known for being a day when unmarried women would dress in white and dance in the vineyards in hopes of finding their true love.
This romantic custom dates back to ancient times when it was believed every young woman should have the chance to see her true love. Interestingly, it wasn’t always about romance.
In more recent years, Tu B’Av has become a day for celebrating all forms of love, not just romantic relationships but also friendships, family ties and spiritual connections.
Today’s celebrations are quite different compared to the original customs of this Day.
Instead of unmarried women gathering in vineyards and dancing around dressed in white. Many Israelis now gather together around bonfires or take part in special events such as concerts or hikes hosted by local organisations.
Other popular activities include traditional baking treats like honey cake, creating festive decorations and making homemade gifts for loved ones.
2. Vietnam Valentine’s Day Celebrations
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Vietnam as a special holiday for couples. It is usually associated with gifting flowers and chocolate to the one you love or going out on romantic dates.
In recent years, Valentine’s celebrations have become more creative and modern. Like the famous Valentine’s Day “selfie” challenge, where people take pictures of themselves at different locations around town.
On Valentine’s Day in Vietnam, it is common to give gifts such as jewellery, a rose bouquet or clothing items that symbolize your commitment to each other.
This could be something like bracelets engraved with both names. Pocket watches inscribed with a heartfelt message. Or hand-crafted jewellery boxes filled with precious stones representing eternal love.
Another unique Valentine’s Day tradition held in Vietnam is Ngày Yêu Thương, which translates to “Love and Care Day”.
On this Day, couples are encouraged to spend time together expressing their love for one another by engaging in meaningful conversations or taking part in activities such as going out to dinner, attending a movie or playing a show, or simply spending the day at home cuddling up on the sofa with some hot cocoa.
3. How Finland Celebrates Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Finland with its unique twist known as Ystävänpäivä or “Friendship Day”. On this Day, friends exchange cards expressing their appreciation for each other through poems, drawings or thoughtful messages.
Red roses are also popular on Ystävänpäivä as they symbolize friendship and loyalty between two people.
The tradition dates back to the late 19th century when a Finnish artist named Akseli Gallen-Kallela received a bouquet of roses from his friend Edvard Grieg, best known as a Norwegian composer.
The gesture was seen as an expression of appreciation and loyalty and soon became popular among friends in Finland to show their affection for one another on Valentine’s Day.
Ystävänpäivä is also celebrated with special dinners and drinks that often feature traditional Finnish dishes such as reindeer meat, mashed potatoes and lingonberries.
People may also opt for special Valentines themed desserts like chocolate mousse or heart-shaped cakes.
Guests at these gatherings are encouraged to exchange small gifts or cards to show appreciation for each other.
4. Valentine’s Day in Denmark
In Denmark, Valentine’s Day is known as Valentinsdag. It is celebrated with various special activities and traditions.
It is customary for couples to exchange cards or gifts such as flowers, chocolate or jewellery to express love and gratitude towards one another on this special day.
Valentinsdag festivities also include family dinners. Where traditional Danish dishes like medisterpølse (a type of sausage), æbleskiver (fried dough balls filled with jam) and flæskesteg (roast pork) are served in honour of Valentine’s Day.
Another popular activity on Valentinsdag is attending a Valentinsbal or “Valentine’s Ball”. These events are held in town halls, restaurants and hotels. There couples can dance the night away to celebrate their love for one another.
Valentine’s Day is also an opportunity for single people to find potential partners at these Valentinsbal gatherings.
In Denmark, Valentine’s Day marks the official start of the “spring cleaning” season. Many take this Day as a chance to clean out their homes and prepare for the warmer months ahead.
This tradition dates back to ancient times when Romans used Valentine’s Day to prepare their homes for upcoming festivals and religious ceremonies.
5. South Korea Valentine’s Day
South Koreans celebrate Valentine’s Day with a unique twist called “White Day”. On this Day, men are expected to return the favour and give gifts to their female friends or partners in appreciation for Valentine’s Day.
Every Day gift items include jewellery, 100 roses, chocolates, and stuffed animals.
White Day also marks the beginning of what many Koreans refer to as “The Month of Love“.
Officially it starts on Valentine’s Day & continues until St. Anthony’s Day (February 14th). During this month, couples spend time together engaging in romantic activities. Such as taking walks through parks or going out for romantic dinners.
One popular activity during The Month of Love is attending “Sweetness Week”. A weeklong South West China festival featuring kite flying and carnival rides.
Valentine’s Day is also an opportunity for couples to exchange elaborate gifts. Such as ninety-nine roses and take part in special romantic nights out like “Candle Light Night” or “Romantic Night at the Beach”.
Valentine’s Day celebrations close on Saint Anthony’s Day, when men are expected to give chocolates or presents to their female friends or loved ones.
6. How Japan Celebrates Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day in Japan is popularly known as “White Day” and is celebrated on March 14th. This Day marks the one-month anniversary of Valentine’s Day. It is seen as an opportunity for men to return the favour to women by giving them gifts such as chocolates or flowers.
People also commonly exchanged cards or letters expressing their love for one another during this period.
Besides exchanging gifts and cards. White Day festivities typically include romantic dinners and activities like visiting hot springs or watching fireworks together.
Couples may also attend special events like Valentine’s festivals or Valentine’s concerts, where they can enjoy music and entertainment with each other.
7. This is How India Celebrates Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in India with various special activities and traditions. Couples often exchange gifts such as jewellery, chocolates or cards on Valentine’s Day to express their love for one another.
Many couples organize mass weddings and host romantic dinners at home to commemorate Valentine’s Day in India. Lovers may also exchange kisses for expressing their feelings for each other.
Additionally. Valentine’s Day celebrations often include Saint Valentine’s services held in churches across the country.
8. Valentine’s Day in the United States
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States with various traditions and activities. On Valentines Day, couples exchange cards, gifts, carnation flowers and chocolates for expressing their love for each other. It is also customary for family members to send Valentine’s messages or cards to their loved ones.
The entire week leading up to Valentine’s Day is often seen as an opportunity for people to show love and appreciation for one another by sending cards, Valentine’s decorations, or attending special parties.
National Chocolate Day, also takes place on February 14th, marks an occasion for lovers to exchange chocolates as a sign of affection. Valentine’s Day festivities end on Saint Valentine’s Day when couples exchange kisses and exchange Valentine’s cards or letters expressing their love for one another.
9. Valentine’s Day in Estonia
The Valentines Day celebration in Estonia is unique and full of traditions. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th, with couples exchanging gifts. Couples also typically attend special events like romantic dinners or Valentine’s concerts.
Furthermore, the entire week leading up to Valentine’s Day is seen as an opportunity for people to show love and appreciation for one another.
On Saint Anthony’s Day, which takes place on February 15th, men are expected to give chocolates or presents to their female friends or partners in appreciation for Valentine’s Day.
To finish Valentine’s celebrations, lovers exchange ninety-nine roses or kisses to express their love for each other.
10. How France Celebrates Valentines Day
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in France with various traditions and activities. On Valentine’s Day couples exchange gifts such as flowers, cards or chocolates to express their love for one another.
Valentine’s celebrants in France may also attend special events like romantic dinners or Valentine’s concerts where they can enjoy music and entertainment together.
On Saint Anthony’s Day men are expected to give chocolates or presents to their female friends or loved ones in appreciation for Valentine’s Day. To finish Valentine’s celebrations, couples exchange 100 pink roses or kisses, expressing their love for each other.
11. Philippines Celebrate Valentine’s Day
Philippine’s people go out of their way to decorate the streets and shops with Valentine’s decorations, filling the air with romantic vibes.
On Valentines Day, it is common for couples to attend mass weddings or unique Valentine’s festivals. They can enjoy performances by local artists in a romantic atmosphere.
As an alternative activity, couples often organise unique Valentine’s cruises around Manila Bay. They can spend time admiring the beautiful city skyline from the comfort of a boat.
In some rural areas in the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is celebrated with unusual traditions such as throwing water balloons at each other for fun or carrying mock coffins around town.
Other festivities may include dragon boat racing competitions or “candle-lighting” ceremonies where couples light candles together to express their love and commitment.
Another popular tradition on Valentine’s Day in the Philippines is “pamamanhikan”. This traditionally involves parents gathering at the home of a young man who wishes to marry his partner.
During this gathering, parents discuss various topics such as marriage arrangements, family finances and plans while enjoying dinner together.
12. How China elebrates Valentines Day
On Valentine’s Day, the Chinese attend unique Valentine’s concerts or romantic dinners where they can enjoy music and entertainment together.
Another popular activity is Qixi or Chinese Valentines Day. A traditional Chinese festival celebrated by young lovers on August 17th of the lunar calendar each year.
On this Day, couples will gather at local parks or temples dressed in traditional costumes and exchange presents like jewellery or chocolates for good luck.
Some couples will even take part in acrobatic performances such as lion dances or kite flying competitions to show appreciation and love for one another.
To finish off Valentine’s celebrations, couples often exchange ninety-nine roses or kisses. This ancient custom stems from the story of two lovers. Niulang and Zhinu, who were tragically separated by a river while trying to be together on Valentine’s Day.
In a remarkable act of love. Niulang crossed the river using magpies that formed a bridge allowing him to reach Zhinu. Thus when Valentine’s day comes every year, couples exchange ninety-nine roses as a reminder of their undying love for each other.
13. In Canada Valentine’s Day is Celebrated by:
Romantic dinners are also trendy in Canada. Many restaurants offer unique Valentine’s menus that couples can enjoy together.
Some people even organize house parties inviting their friends for an evening of fun, music and dancing.
Couples in Canada may also opt for more unusual activities, such as skiing trips or hot air balloon rides, to express their love for one another.
Valentine’s Day in Canada is also celebrated with the traditional exchange of ninety-nine roses or kisses as a sign of love and commitment to each other.
14. Valentine’s Day in the United Kingdom
Some Valentine’s traditions in the UK also involve participating in fun activities such as karaoke night or attending Valentine’s theatre performances in London’s West End.
Couples can also go on Valentines-themed river cruises along the River Thames. This provides stunning views of many famous landmarks in London.
For those wanting a more relaxed atmosphere, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a romantic picnic outdoors with a Valentines themed hamper.
Or, for something more intimate. Couples can attend traditional Victorian tea houses where they can enjoy tea and cakes while listening to romantic music being played live by local musicians.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in different ways worldwide. Each country has distinct traditions and customs. Whether it’s trying out traditional activities or going for a romantic dinner, Valentine’s Day can be enjoyed by everyone! So why not try something new this year to make Valentine’s Day even more special?
Happy Valentines Day!
Valentines Day FAQs:
What country celebrates Valentine’s Day the most?
The most popular Valentine’s Day celebration occurs in Iran, Honduras and Nepal. Valentine’s Day is an official holiday celebrated in Iran with festivals and events such as street parties or parades. Hondurans usually exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day.
While Nepalese couples often attend Valentine’s concerts or romantic dinners. In Iraq, Valentine’s Day is not an official holiday. but, it is still celebrated with many couples attending special Valentines-themed events like concerts or dinners.
What is Valentine’s Day called in other countries?
Valentine’s Day is known as San Valentín in Spanish-speaking countries. Valentin Tag in Germany, and Sankta Valentine Tago in Esperanto. In Japan, Valentine’s Day is referred to as botan no hi, while it is called a saint Valentine in France.
In India, Valentine’s Day is traditionally referred to as Kama Daysh, while in Greece, it is known as Festa tis Eras.
Why is Valentine’s Day not celebrated in some countries?
Valentine’s Day is not celebrated in some countries for religious or cultural reasons. In Saudi Arabia, for example. Valentine’s Day is seen as an occasion promoting extramarital relationships. So this holiday is not officially recognized.
Similarly, Valentine’s Day has been banned in some Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Indonesia. Here officials have argued that it undermines Islamic values.
Who was St Valentine, and what did he do?
St Valentine was a Roman priest who was martyred in 270 AD. He is believed to have been trying to help young couples wed against Emperor Claudius II’s wishes.
He was arrested and executed for his acts of defiance. Today Valentines Day is celebrated in honour of St Valentine’s sacrifice for love.
Why do countries celebrate Valentine’s Day differently?
Valentine’s Day is celebrated in different ways worldwide, depending on local culture and customs. Valentine’s Day is a formal occasion in some countries when couples exchange gifts, and romantic dinner dates are commonplace.
In others. Valentine’s Day is more of an informal celebration with people participating in activities such as karaoke nights or theatre performances to show their love for each other.