Valentine’s Day Traditions Across the Globe. A cultural and historical look at February 14. There are many commonalities in the ways different cultures celebrate Valentine’s Day. Flowers, candy, and greeting cards are among many universal symbols of the holiday.
Valentine’s Day – a day that represents love and romance- is celebrated on February 14th in most English speaking countries around the world. In modern times Valentine’s Day is largely considered a “Hallmark Holiday,” due to the robust amount of commercialism associated with the day. But St. Valentine’s Day does have religious origins at its roots.
The History of Valentine’s Day
It is said that Valentine’s Day is named after two specific Christian martyrs, both named Valentine. The first is Valentine of Rome, and the second is Valentine of Terni. Oddly enough, there are limited connotations of romance attached to these two Christian martyrs.
Since the 19th century, Valentine’s Day has been represented by the winged cupid, rather than any saints or religious icons.The association of romantic love and Valentine’s Day is said to begin in England during the Middle Ages, when courtly love sprouted. And by the 1800s, Valentine’s Day was widely popular among all social classes in Great Britain. It was around that time that Valentine’s Day cards originated.
Valentine’s Day Cards
In England Valentine’s Day cards originally began as hand-written love notes. But by the end of the 17th Century, printed greeting cards appeared.The tradition of Valentine’s Day cards then traveled across the Atlantic, and the first successful greeting card business was henceforth set-up in the United States in 1847. Valentine’s Day cards are still widely popular. The American Greeting Card Association reports that approximately one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.
Interested in writing a love note to a loved one this Valentine’s Day? Read Love, Quotes, Poems to Romance on Valentine’s Day for information how.
Common Valentine’s Day Traditions
The commonalities are vast among the ways different cultures around the world celebrate and represent Valentine’s Day. Common Valentine’s Day associations include:
- Greeting cards
Valentine’s Day Celebrations Among Children
In Britain it is the custom for children to sing songs, and then receive gifts such as candy or money. In America it is a custom for children to exchange valentine’s with their friends at a school party.
Cultural Differences in Valentine’s Day Celebrations
True to the fact that every culture and country is different, there are also differences in the way that people celebrate Valentine’s Day around the world.
- South America: In South America, Valentine’s Day is considered a day of love and friendship.
- Asia: In Asia it is customary that only women give chocolate to men on Valentine’s Day. There is a Taiwanese tradition that says the number of roses in a Valentine’s Day bouquet holds much significance. For example, 108 roses means “marry me.”
- Finland: February 14 is a day to remember friends in Finnish culture.
- Denmark: Men send an anonymous love note their lover. If the recipient guesses who the sender is, she receives an Easter egg later in the year.
- Scotland: Gifts are exchanged such as love-tokens or true-love-knots.
Many other cultures celebrate Valentine’s Day on days other than February 14. It is celebrated on February 24 in Slovenia, and a festival of love is celebrated in late August among many Jewish traditions.
The Universal Language of Love
Across all cultures, one thing about Valentine’s Day always remains consistant. This thing is love. The language of love is universal. And no matter what day Valentine’s Day is celebrated on, or what time of year, love is always present in the heart of those who are celebrating.