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Valentine's Day 2018: 9 interesting rituals of love from around the globe! | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

Gifts, cards, and romantic dinners are the usual drill for most people who celebrate Valentine’s Day. However, besides the tried-and-tested, there are some interesting customs that mark the day around the world. While some traditions have been phased out with time, others continue to thrive.


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Danish folks started celebrating Valentine’s Day in the early 1990s, but the locals have given it their own twist. Instead of roses or chocolates, friends and couples exchange pressed white flowers called snowdrops. Another tradition sees people exchanging lovers’ cards. Though transparent earlier, today they have taken the form of regular greeting cards. Men also give what’s called as gaekkebrev or a joking letter. It has a funny poem or rhyme written on intricately cut paper and signed by anonymous dots. If the lady guesses the name of the sender, she earns herself an Easter egg later that year.


The country that’s home to the capital of romance — Paris — has a lot happening on the day of love. It’s said that the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. Another tradition was loterie d’amour, which means ‘drawing for love’. Men and women would fill houses that faced one another, and then take turns calling out to one another and pairing up. Men who weren’t satisfied with their match could simply leave a woman for another, and the women left unmatched gathered afterwards for a bonfire where they would hurl insults at the men.

South Korea

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On V-Day, it’s the men who get pampered. Women shower them with love and gifts. They get their share of gifts, too, though on March 14, which is known as the White Day. And if you are single, there’s the Black Day. On April 14, singles mourn their status by eating dark bowls of jajangmyeon, or black bean-paste noodles.


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Instead of St Valentine, locals celebrate Saint Dwynwen, who was the Welsh patron saint of lovers, on January 25. A traditional romantic Welsh gift is a love spoon. Traced back to the 17th century, men carved intricate wooden spoons as a symbol of their love for the women they liked. Each pattern had a different meaning. For instance, wheels indicate support, while keys symbolise the key to a man’s heart. Today, love spoons are also exchanged for celebrations such as weddings, anniversaries and births.


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The equivalent of Valentine’s Day in China is Qixi, or the Seventh Night Festival, which falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month each year. On this day, young women prepare offerings of melon and other fruits to Zhinu in hopes of finding a good husband. Many couples visit temples to pray for happiness. Another ritual has people gazing at the sky to watch as stars Vega and Altair (Zhinu and Niulang, respectively) come close during the star-crossed pair’s annual reunion.


Though in today’s time, Valentine’s Day is celebrated like it is everywhere in the world, the UK has had some interesting traditions in its past. One such ritual had women placing five bay leaves on their pillows — one at each corner and one in the centre — to bring dreams of their future husbands.


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In Italy, unmarried girls would wake up before sunrise to spot their future husbands. It was believed that, on this day, the first man she lays her eyes on, is the one she would tie the knot with. If not him, then someone with a strong resemblance to him. Today, one of the popular Valentine’s Day gifts in Italy is Baci Perugina, which are small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped with a romantic quote printed in four languages.


As the Carnival is held in February or March, Brazilians often prefer to skip V-Day festivities and celebrate Dia dos Namorados, or Lovers’ Day, on June 12. Besides the usual gifts, dinner etc, music festivals and performances are held throughout the country. On this day, not only do people give gifts to their partners, but also to friends and relatives. The next day is Saint Anthony’s Day, which honours the patron saint of marriage. Single women perform rituals called simpatias in the hope that St. Anthony will find them their perfect match.

South Africa

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As per tradition, women in South Africa wear their hearts on their sleeves on February 14th. Ladies pin the name of the object of their affection on the sleeve of their shirts. This ancient Roman tradition is known as Lupercalia. This often helps the men to know which lady fancies them.

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