Valentine's Day. Curious traditions
Today a very special day is celebrated in many parts of the world, Valentine's Day. A day when love flows in the air and lovers give each other gifts to demonstrate their love.
There is nothing wrong with all those who are in love paying homage to each other one day a year, although we should not forget that almost always, behind each of these special days, there is consumerism hiding. A few days before this celebration, television commercials already focus on advertising various objects that might be the perfect gift for our partner. In addition, shopping centres decorate their shops appropriately, which of course creates a favourable atmosphere for shppers around this day.
Anyway, most people like to celebrate any kind of event, and Valentine's Day is no exception. Now, is it celebrated the same way in every corner of the world? It seems that, although in most countries lovers give each other gifts, in others there are certain curiosities or different ways of celebrating such a romantic day. Let's take a look at some of them:
In Japan, men receive chocolates as a special gift from their sweethearts, since the concept of Valentine's Day was introduced to Japan by a chocolate company that ran an advertising campaign urging couples to buy their product.
The fact that it is the girls who offer the gift is mainly due to the fact that Valentine's Day became popular in the country coinciding with the second wave of the feminist movement in the United States back in the 60s and 70s. This event influenced Japanese women to start taking the initiative in their relationships. In addition, women are the ones who tend to shop most and therefore it made sense for chocolate manufacturers to focus on them in their advertising campaigns.
Italians have a reputation for being very romantic and passionate and therefore Valentine's Day is a day they celebrate with great enthusiasm. One of the traditions they have is to give each other a chocolate bar called "Baci Perugina", which consists of a chocolate bonbon filled with chopped hazelnut and contains messages of love inside its wrapping.
Another tradition is to write the couple's initials on a padlock, tie it to the railing of a bridge by a river and then throw the key into it to show that their love is forever.
Verona is the city of Romeo and Juliet and, for St. Valentine's Day, its streets are decorated with heart-shaped lanterns. Concerts and activities are organized throughout the day for lovers. It is also very popular for lovers to go to Juliet's house and leave written notes asking for advice about love. In fact, a team of volunteers was created to reply to those requests.
3. Denmark and Norway.
In these countries, instead of gifts, cards called "Gaekkebrev" are sent with a funny rhyme for each of the letters that make up the name of the sender. In addition, when the card is signed, the vowels of the name are replaced by points, so the person receiving the card can find out who the sender is. If he or she is right, this person will receive an Easter egg from his or her beloved, and that will lead to a date. White flowers called "snow drops" are also often given as gifts.
In this country so far north, where the winters are long and cold, and where people are not too prone to public displays of love, instead of celebrating Valentine's Day, they celebrate the "Ystävänpäivä" day of friendship and it includes the couple, family or friends. Gifts and cards are exchanged, but the most common thing is doing activities with friends such as eating out or doing sports such as ice skating or sledding. However, it should be mentioned that on Valentine's Day there are many marriage proposals and many weddings.
Although in this country they also give chocolates and flowers, generally red roses, it is very common to give sweets called "Lebkuchenherz", which are gingerbreads shaped like hearts and are usually decorated with phrases, names or drawings.
Another peculiarity that we find in Germany is the tradition of giving a cocoa pig as a present, which, depending on its position, will send a message of good luck or a slightly suggestive message. They can also give books, go to the theatre and another tradition is to put a warm cushion on our loved one's bed.
We have given you a sample of different traditions from different countries for the same celebration, Valentine's Day.
It is clear that, although there is a clear consumerist objective in this and many other celebrations, it is always positive to take any opportunity to show how much you love another person, be it your partner, your children, your family or your friends, and even those people with whom you share a lot of time at work.
A gift is always welcome, but a hug is still more welcome when needed, or sharing a coffee and a piece of cake with a friend, calling a person you haven't talked to in a while. Anyway, there are thousands of things we can do to make those we love happy. Happy Valentine's Day.