Love Around the World


Laura Madler

Love is celebrated all around the world, but international cultures have very different methods of doing so.

Alyssa Lambert, Staff Writer

A typical Valentine’s Day in the United States usually consists of sending cards, giving gifts, arranging fancy dinners, or organizing romantic nights in. This holiday of love, intimacy, and tenderness is celebrated in various countries throughout the world. However, many of us in the U.S. fail to notice how different and diverse these worldwide cultures are, and how it affects the way people communicate and express their love and appreciation to one another. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day here in the U.S., numerous global societies begin to display their own unique customs and traditions during this international holiday of love.

Brazil- Brazilians celebrate Dia dos Namorados, or “Lovers’ Day,” on June 12th by exchanging gifts with friends, family, and lovers. The next day, June 13th, is known as Saint Anthony’s Day, a holiday that honors the patron saint of marriage. On this day, single women in Brazil perform rituals called simpatias in hopes of finding a future husband.

Peru- In Peru, partners opt for orchids instead of traditional roses on Valentine’s Day, as orchids are a native flower of the country.

Argentina- Argentina uses an entire week in July to celebrate “Sweetness Week,” which was originally established due to an advertising campaign that was quickly accepted by the nation. This week is usually dedicated to a person giving sweet treats and kisses to their partner.

France- France, especially Paris, is known as one of the most romantic places in the world, but this city once had a very bizarre Valentine’s Day tradition. The French used to participate in an event called the Loterie d’amour, or “drawing for love.” During this event, single men and women would enter houses that faced opposite of each other and would take turns calling out to everyone until a couple was paired together. If the men didn’t like their partners, they would abandon their women. This annual tradition soon caused a problem, however, because the women who did not get matched with a man started a bonfire where they would burn pictures and other possessions of the men who rejected them while swearing and cursing at them, which resulted in the French government banning the event due to the outrage it caused.

Italy- In Italy, a romantic dinner for two is most commonplace, as well as giving a loved one a gift of Baci Perugina, which are small chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped with a romantic quote written in four languages.

Denmark- The small Scandinavian country of Denmark has a custom of partners sending little white flowers called ‘snowdrops’ to their loved ones, or sending a gaekkebrev, meaning “joke letters.” A gaekkebrev is a love poem or a funny letter that’s written on a piece of paper cut in an intricate pattern, with the sender drawing little dots that represent each letter of his or her name on the letter. If the receiver finds out the person’s identity, the sender owes that person an Easter egg on Easter Sunday, but if they guess wrong three times, then the sender is given the egg.

China- In China, there is an annual festival that takes place on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month (August), called Qixi. According to Chinese lore, this festival was created to honor the love story of Zhinu, a heavenly king’s daughter, and a cowherd named Niulang, who married and had twins. However, when Zhinu’s father learned of their marriage, he sent his queen to bring her back to the stars. Upon hearing the cries of Niulang and the twins, the king allowed them to meet once a year on Qixi. Young women offer melons and fruits to Zhinu in the hope of finding a good husband, and couples pray at temples for prosperity and happiness.

Japan- In Japan, women show love to their significant others by presenting the men with different types of chocolate that represent different relationships. A woman may gift a man giri-choko, which translates to “obligation chocolate,” without any romantic interest, or honmei-choko, meaning “true feeling chocolate,” for lovers, boyfriends, or husbands.

South Korea- South Korea’s N Seoul Tower is a popular destination for couples in Korea and around the world. This iconic symbol of Seoul has a railing adorned with “love locks,” small padlocks that couples affix to the fence in hopes that their love will last forever. The 14th day of each month represents a ‘love’ holiday in South Korea, such as Rose Day for May 14th and Kiss Day for June 14th. On February 14th, White Day or Valentine’s Day, the women of Korea offer chocolate to their loved ones, just like women do in Japan.