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How the World Celebrates Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is by no means an American-only celebration, nor should it be! Did you ever stop to wonder what the rest of the world does to commemorate this day of love?

Here, the top 3 Valentine’s Day ideas we discovered around the globe.

Valentine's Day in Japan - On You, Ladies!

It’s estimated that more than half of total chocolate sales in Japan occur around Valentine’s Day. And if that weren’t interesting enough, consider that it’s the LADIES who are doing the buying and gifting. That’s right, on February 14th, it's up to the women in Japan to show their love for men with chocolate gifts.

Customarily, women will give giri-choco to friends, bosses, colleagues and close male relatives since it's store bought and has no romantic association. Boyfriends, lovers and husbands, though, should expect something more. Hon-mei, especially homemade, are the chocolates that mean true love.

And not to worry, one month later, on March 14th, it's up to the guys to return the favor on what's known as White Day. As you may have guessed, because it's known as White Day, white chocolates are often the gift of choice, but men also give flowers, lingerie and other gifts.

Valentine's Day in South Africa - Pin A Name on Your Sleeve

What's great about Valentine's Day in South Africa is how much the celebration varies there and the length of time at which it is anticipated.

Week long parties in hotels and clubs are the norm, illustrating the indulgent and celebratory nature of the country.

Then, there's the romantic dates with Valentines and observance of Lupercalia - the Roman tradition of wearing your lover's name pinned to your sleeve.

Valentine's Day in France - Let it Burn

France, home of Paris, city of love - we hold high expectations for you! During the Middle Ages there was a popular belief in both France and England that birds would mate halfway through the month of February. This led to the tradition of exchanging love letters and other tokens.

Though the French now observe the holiday the same way we do, they once practiced a custom called "drawing for" on Valentine's Day. Unmarried people would go into houses that faced each other and call out the window to pair off with their chosen partner.

If a young man was unhappy with his Valentine he would desert her. But don't feel bad for the ladies - later, there would be a big bonfire at which they could burn the photo of their ungrateful Valentine and hurl insults at them with the support of their girls.

Because of the inevitable nasty nature of this practice the French government handed down a decree and officially banned the tradition.


Do you celebrate Valentine's Day in a special way? Tell us how in the comments section below!


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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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