You may be rather excited about the impending arrival of February 14th, or perhaps you’re a little anxious about receiving a special something from that special someone. All I can say is, most of the people reading won’t have experienced some of the weird and sometimes not so wonderful activities that pass for Valentine’s Day traditions worldwide. Many people celebrate this festival on February 14th; others mark another date. However, most cultures have a version it and some of their activities are a little more quirky than dinner for two and a bunch of roses. Let’s take a little tour of some of the strangest ways in which people embrace the wonders of Valentines Day…
If only life were as simple as some lovelorn Portuguese ladies would like it to be. They celebrate their day of love, called On Dia dos Namorados, on the 12th of June and the idea is that single ladies write down the names of anyone they fancy and then draw one name out of a hat. Tradition has it that the name chosen will be the man the lucky lady will marry.
It seems some women in England in the 1600s could get a little desperate. Some subscribed to the practice of placing bay leaves under their pillow on the night before Valentines Day (casserole, anyone?). Legend has it that they would then dream about their future husband.
Sometimes, let’s be honest, we’ve all experienced a Valentines Day shocker that we’d rather forget. However, if you live in South Korea, forgetting may not be an option. The country marks two different romantic days – one for men and one for women, but they’ve also come up with a rather unique way to give you a complete downer: Black Day. Yes, rather than necking a couple of glasses of Sauvingnon and hoovering up a meteor-sized chunk of chocolate fudge cake, if your Valentines Day has gone utterly roses-up, singletons are expected to mark ‘Black Day’, where they wear dark coloured clothes, nosh on black food (yum!) and hang out with others who are unlucky in love.
If you’re a girl celebrating Valentines day in Japan, it might be worth working for a very small company, or frankly going self-employed. An expensive tradition in that country sees females expected to buy chocolate for all of their male co-workers. It’s called ‘giri choco’ and should probably come with a sound payment plan.
Valentines Day isn’t all about romance if you happen to be in Finland or Estonia. In those countries, a ‘Friend’s Day’ is celebrated instead – which is all about remembering your pals not your lovers.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of passion in our later years and this is definitely a viewpoint the Guatemalans are strong on. There, on Valentines Day, older people hit the streets of Guatemala City, decked out in masks and feathers, to worship the idea of ‘old love’.
Remember, if the object of your affection happens to be German, then the pig may be the way to go. Seriously. German Valentines cards seem to be full of pigs – really not sure why…
Thai ladies believe in a little divine intervention from above when they’re feeling unlucky in love. The Trimurti shrine in Thailand is apparently the place to be on the country’s romantic day. They place flowers and incense there and ask the Hindu gods to help them find a husband.
Traditionally, the Slovenian version of Saint Valentine had far more important things to do that fix up a few dates. In that country, poor old Val is expected to spend February 14th ‘waking up’ all the flowers and crops, so they can grow in the spring and produce a good harvest.
Iraqi Kurds have a nice simple – and very healthy – way of marking the big love day. They celebrate by decorating red apples, which represent the love of Adam and Eve. The beautified apples are supposed to bring riches and a stable love life.
Isla knows a good set of underwear when she sees it. Isla firmly believes that attitude and confidence are the key ingredients to looking just fabulous in your lingerie. She’s also an avid online shopper, capable of spotting a bargain at 20 paces.
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