Valentine’s Traditions Around The World

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Story told by Fr. David Convertino, Jan 27 2020

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Japanese women celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving presents to their loved ones or any man who might be close to them. After a month, it is the men who give a gift in return on White Day which is celebrated on March 14th.

Denmark & Norway

In these two Scandinavian countries, men anonymously compose poems or small rhyming love notes called “Gaekkebrev” to women on Valentine’s Day. They sign the cards with dots instead of their names, leaving the recipient to guess who the card was from.

South Africa

South African women enjoy the art of practicing pinning names of their partners on their shirtsleeves on Valentine’s Day. This tradition goes back to ancient Rome’s pastoral festival called “Lupercalia” celebrated from February 13th to the 15th


On Valentine’s Day, Chinese couples visit the Temple of Matchmaker to pray for love, happiness and hope for future marriage. Single people also pay a visit to the temple on this day and ask for their luck in love.


Hundreds of Filipino couples get married all at the same time on Valentine’s Day. Having been a popular tradition in the Philippines, “Kasalang Bayan” or mass wedding ceremonies as they are known here, need huge open spaces to accommodate all the grooms and brides in one public ceremony.


Unlike other countries where people usually consider February 14th a day of romance, Finland celebrates friendship on Valentine’s Day. They call it “Ystävänpäivä,” which means “Friend’s Day,” where people are expected to send cards and gifts to their close friends.


Here in the land of Tango, Argentinians take a full week to celebrate the occasion. In addition to February 14th, they set aside seven days in July for “sweetness week.” From July 13th to the 20th, lovers and friends exchange candies and kisses. This week typically ends with “Friendship Day”.


Taiwan, which is famous for its flowers, boasts the most romantic celebration in the world! They celebrate Valentine’s Day twice a year: February 14th and also on July 7th. In Taiwan, men are expected to give bouquets of flowers to their loved ones. According to Taiwanese tradition, the color and number of flowers will represent an important message: red roses will represent “an only love,” ninety-nine roses will express “love forever,” and 108 roses signifies popping “The Question, will you marry me?”
More than a celebration of love, Valentine’s Day is a time for discovering interesting traditions that are deeply rooted in unique cultures. You decide how to make your Valentine’s Day extraordinary!