Valentine’s Day Abroad: A peek into what the “day of love” looks like around the world

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It’s not all about fancy chocolates and memes in these countries. Get a peek of what traditions are happening around the world on Feb. 14.

The Bulgarians are definitely a country to follow on V-Day. Instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day, Bulgarians celebrate St. Trifon Zarezan Day; also known as “Winemakers Day.” Couples show their love and affection for each other by indulging in a couple glasses of the nation’s finest wine. Plus, if you’re not one for relationships, then just grab a bottle and enjoy wine with some friends!

China has its own holiday called the Qixi Festival to celebrate love. This festival originated from two lovers who were forced apart and only able to see each other once a year. The holiday takes place on the seventh day, of the seventh year, of the Chinese calendar.

Ystävänpäivä is what Valentine’s Day is called in Finland, and it translates as “Friendship Day.” On this day, friends are to exchange gifts between each other, to show their love and appreciation for one another.

Between Feb. 12 and 14, France transforms into the epicenter of romance. Many will decorate their homes and shops with roses, pin special love notes on trees and perhaps even propose. It is also very popular to plant a “lover’s tree” with your Valentine. What better way to immortalize your love than to seal it into the Earth?

Feb. 14 is known as National Chocolate Day in Ghana. This holiday began recently, in 2007, to boost tourism in the country. Because Ghana is one of the largest cocoa producing countries, they go all out for V-Day. Carefully crafted chocolates are made, while exhibitions and talks take place all around the country. Worried about a broken heart? Don’t be. It is totally acceptable to gift yourself chocolate because, after all, chocolate won’t break your heart.

In most countries, it is usually the women who are being spoiled, but not in Japan. Valentine’s Day is for the men. Women are supposed to give gifts of chocolate to their Valentines and then if men want to return the favor, they are allowed to on March 14; which is known as “White Day.” March 14 must be pretty suspenseful for the women, waiting to see if their Valentines feel the same.

The Philippines
Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular holidays for engagements and weddings. In the Philippines, mass weddings with hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of couples tie the knot in unison. The Philippine government sponsors these grand events as a form of public service. So, if you don’t like being the center of attention, we recommend having a wedding in the Philippines, where you won’t be the only merry couple to put a ring on it.

The Romanians celebrate a form of Valentine’s Day on Feb. 24. This day is known as “Dragobete,” which means “The day the birds are betrothed.” This holiday is a mixture of Valentine’s Day and a celebration of spring. The men and women gather around to pick flowers and wash their face in the remaining snow to bring health and happiness.

South Africa
There is no room for subtlety on Valentine’s Day in South Africa. The tradition is for young women to pin the name of their crush on their sleeve for everyone to see. Can you even imagine the mayhem that must go on in middle schools and high schools this time of year? Yikes.

South Korea
Instead of just one day a year, why not celebrate love each month? That’s exactly what South Korea does. The 14th of every month is a day for couples to show affection for their lover. Some of the days include; May’s Rose Day, June’s Kiss Day and December’s Hug Day. They also included April’s Black Day, which is for the singletons to console themselves over Jajangmyeon — black noodles.

Valencia, Spain
Valencians celebrate love on Oct. 9, the Day of Saint Dionysius, also known as the patron saint of love. Men are supposed to gift their partners with Mocadoras to show love and appreciation. A Mocadora is an elegantly wrapped marzipan figurine, which is usually fruit made out of confectioner’s sugar. Yum!

So, if you’re looking to skip out on America’s usual V-Day traditions, then switch it up and pretend you’re in one of these awesome countries by enjoying wine, friends or even some black noodles. Whatever floats your V-Day boat.


Amanda Kimmen is a senior majoring in professional writing who is on the editing and publishing track. She has a passion for health and fitness, so you can assume that the gym is her natural habitat. When she isn’t working out, she is usually snuggled up with a good book and a cup of coffee.