The 14th of February is more than just exchanging cards and gift flowers with your loved one. Around the globe, we can find a variety of different and meaningful traditions with a historical origin that people still celebrate today. Read on below to learn more about these incredible Valentine’s customs.
Mr Jack Valentine, England
Every 14th of February, Norfolk’s lovers celebrate this date like Jack Valentine, a naughty but kind-hearted character known for leaving gifts and trinkets on people’s doorsteps. He used to knock on the door and run away before they would answer, so people would find their gifts without knowing who had a crush on them.
The Chinese Valentine’s Day is Qixi, also known as the Seventh Night Festival, as it is the seventh day of the seventh lunar month each year. According to a famous Chinese legend, a king’s daughter named Zhinu, and Niulang, a cowherd, fell in love, married, and had twins. When the king found out about the marriage, he sent the queen to bring Zhinu back to the stars. Because of the cries of Niulang and the children, the king allowed Zhinu and Niulang to meet once a year on Qixi.
During Qixi, young women offer fruits to Zhinu and ask her for a good husband. At the same time, couples also visit temples to pray for happiness and prosperity. At night, people look to the heavens to watch as stars Vega and Altair (Zhinu and Niulang) get close during their annual meeting.
Saint Dwynwen, Wales
The Welsh celebrate Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron of lovers, on the 25th of January. Men usually gift women a traditional romantic Welsh present, a wooden spoon. As early as the 17th century, Welsh men carved wooden spoons as a token of affection for the women they loved, with symbols like horseshoes for good luck or keys to symbolise the keys to a man’s heart.
White Day, Japan
In the Land of the Rising Sun, women take the initiative on the 14th of February by giving chocolate to their male lovers. On the 14th of March, known as “White Day”, men give back white chocolate and white-coloured gifts to demonstrate their affection.
Single’s Day, South Korea
South Korea’s Valentine’s Day traditions are remarkably similar to Japan’s, except they follow it with a third holiday, “Black Day”, on the 14th of April. This day is a celebration for singles, where swallowing their feelings is symbolised by eating a characteristic black noodle dish with a black sauce called jajangmyeon.
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