You don’t really need to take a trip around the world to learn about Valentine’s Day, just keep reading.
In Japan, women give chocolates to their men and it could be one of two kinds: Giri-choco or Honmei-choco. The first one, Giri-choco, is not expensive and women give that kind to all their friends and coworkers and it doesn’t have a special meaning. The school girls prepare bags to this chocolate and pass out to their friends, male and female.
The Honmei-choco is the one which women give to their special one. It's usually homemade and it is used as a way to express their love to their loved one.
For the Japanese and other Asian countries, the celebration doesn’t end at the same day. A month later, they celebrate the White Day, when the men give back white colored treats to their women who gave them the chocolate.
Danish people give a white flower called “snowdrops” to both friends and lovers. Between couples, the tradition is the exchange of a lover’s card. The most unique tradition is called “gaekkebrev.” In English it means a “joke letter.” They are often written as a poem on special paper and instead of signing with their name, they uses dots – one for each letter in their name. According to tradition, if the woman correctly guesses who sent her the joke letter, she will get an Easter egg that same year.
Because of the big Carnival celebration of Brazil is in February, they decide to celebrate the Valentine’s Day months later, in June 12, and called it 'Dia dos Namorados' or Lovers’ Day. They celebrate that with cards, gifts, chocolates and flowers. Instead of celebrate under the patronage of Saint Valentine like the Americans, they celebrate Saint Anthony, who was a Portuguese Catholic priest, known for helping couples in their relationships and now it is renown as the patron saint of marriage.
Despite that many Chinese celebrate Valentine’s Day like most of the western countries, the idea of “Day of love” is deep rooted in ther tradition for centuries.
The “Qixi Festival” or Seventh Night Festival, is celebrated usually in early August, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. This festival commemorates an old ancestral love tragedy tale passed from generation to generation for centuries.
The tale tells the story of two stars in the Milky Way, one of them a fairy named Zhinu who married a mortal young man named Niulang. They fell in love at first sight, and when they got married the Goddess of Heaven became so furious that she created the Milky Way just to separate them. On the east side of the Milky Way lies the star Vega, which represents the girl, and on the west side is the young man crying for his wife. The lovers get the chance to see each other just once a year - during the 'Qixi' celebration. Chinese girls during this time pray to find good husbands, and offer fruits and carve melons for Zhinu, the ancient goddess of love and relationships, to hear their intentions.
Beside the well know commercial part of this tradition, the exchanges between lovers of chocolates, flowers and heart shaped gifts, the Germans added a special local tradition. They also exchange a pig. This represent luck and lust, and can be given as a picture, miniature, chocolate, stuffed animal, etc. All this accompanied with ginger cookies in heart shapes with romantic phrases and messages.
As one of the most romantic places, in Italy, it is celebrated in a classic style with a spring Festival. The couples celebrate together with music, poetry and exchange gifts like the “baci perugina,” a box of small hazelnut-filled chocolate "kisses" (baci means "kiss" in Italian). Usually it comes with a romantic quote in four languages. There is an old tradition that at this day young, unmarried girls wake up before dawn to spot their future husbands. The belief was that the first man a woman saw on Valentine's Day was the man she would marry within a year, or at least he'd strongly resemble to the man she would marry.
As known as “The land of poets”, the “Dia de San Valentin”, is anticipated greatly by lovers, where everywhere is beautifully decorated with balloons, flowers, heart garlands and more. All the restaurants, pubs, clubs, travel agencies, hotels and more make preparations for this day, offering to the couples make something really special. Chocolates, flowers, love letters, jewels and others gifts that are handed under the dim light of the candle during dinner or at a special place for the couple.
Paris as called by many authors and poets “The city of love” and for the French Valentine’s Day is a traditional event each year. They celebrate as many western countries, with exchange of flowers, chocolates, gifts, and romantic dinners. Each year thousand of couples travel to Paris to celebrate there this special day.
One of the possible origins of the celebrations of this day, came form France, where history says that the Duke of Orleans, Charles, wrote the first Valentine’s card, because he signed his poem as “Your Valentine”.
On the other side, they have an old tradition far from romantic. The “Loterie d’amour” or Drawing for love in English, is were singles would fill houses that faced one another, and then take turns calling out to one another and pairing off. Men who weren't satisfied with their match could simply leave a woman for another, and women left unmatched gathered afterward for a bonfire. During the bonfire, women burned pictures of the men who have wronged them and hurled swears and insults at the opposite sex. The event became so uncontrollable that the French government eventually banned the tradition all together.