Love. Aaaaah love. What better way to show your affection for another than showering them with gifts galore: a box brimming with chocolate hearts, a dozen red roses or a teddy bear half their size? Although the idea may make you shudder with its sickly sweetness, stores will be gearing up to provide all this (and more!) in time for February 14th. However, not every culture chooses to declare its love with cheesy cards and bank-breaking meals out. In fact, it appears that love can be expressed in a multitude of meaningful ways. From week-long gifting to performing rituals, the big ‘L’ word is celebrated in style across the globe. Read on to find out more…
Brazil – Dia dos Namorados
Brazilian singletons need not wallow in loneliness for too long – ‘Dia dos Namorados’ (translated as ‘Lovers’ Day’) coupled with Saint Antony’s Day (the patron saint of marriage) is celebrated yearly on the 12th & 13th June and gives single ladies a chance to bag the man of their dreams. Women often perform rituals, called simpatias, in the hope that they will be next to marry their Prince Charming. They may also hide a little love note in a pot of basil to subtly donate to their one and only. Who knew that herbs could be so romantic, eh?
China – Sisters’ Meal Festival
In South West China it’s all about the cooking. In the days leading up to the ‘Sisters’ Meal Festival’, single ladies collect wild flowers to make into natural dyes, using them to turn rice into an explosion of different colours. It’s then their choice to cheekily hide an item in the rice – some chopsticks or parsley signify a whole lotta love whereas a clove of garlic means the relationship is doomed before it’s even begun. These little surprise packages are then wrapped in silk and gifted to the lucky (or unlucky!) suitor. This traditional courtship also involves drumming, dancing and even firecrackers – what more could you want?!
Argentina – Sweetness Week
There isn’t just one day to celebrate love in this South American country. Oh no. The Argentinians are greedy. They take a whole week in July, known as ‘Sweetness Week’ to exchange gifts with lovers and friends, rounding it off with ‘Friendship Day’. The main idea behind this recent tradition is that kisses are exchanged for delicious treats with your one and only. However, the Argentinians take it to a whole new meaningful level by going the extra mile – showing kind gestures not only to the apple of their eye but also to the people around them: in the office, at home and even to animals. Now that definitely is sweet.
Japan – Giri vs Honmei Choco
Ever to do things in a unique way, the Japanese celebrate Valentine’s Day in a style of their own. Believing in the meaningful weight that something has when it’s crafted by hand, Japanese women make little chocolates at home to be gifted to a lucky recipient. Although this may sound rather traditional, these chocolates are sorted into two types: ‘Giri-choco’ (‘obligation’ chocolate) which is given to non-romantic male friends such as a colleague or boss and ‘Honmei-choco’ (“true feeling” chocolate) which is affectionately gifted to their one true love. Now, this is where the final twist takes place: a month later, on 14th March, ‘White Day’ provides an opportunity for men to return the favour and shower their significant other with gifts and love. That’s a win-win!