As far back as Ancient times people have celebrated festivals of love. Both the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans had springtime holidays devoted to love. The Ancient Greeks celebrated the marriage of the gods Zeus and Hera, while Ancient Romans had a festival to honor the God of fertility, Lupercus. Now a day when people celebrate love we call Valentine’s Day.
8 Unique Ways to Celebrate Love
Valentine’s Day as we know it today was likely a Catholic holiday. Pope Galasius declared the first Saint Valentine’s Day on February 14, 496 to honor Saint Valentine who was martyred for conducting marriages in secret, against the will of the emperor. Valentine thought that marriage was an essential part of God’s purpose, while the emperor thought that married men were bad soldiers. Valentine was eventually sentenced to death for disobeying the emperor. While he was in jail he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and just before his execution he sent her a letter signed, “from your Valentine.”
1. How do people celebrate love in the US? | Valentine’s Day
In the United States, people celebrate Valentine’s Day with greeting cards, chocolates, candies, roses, and gifts which they give to their family, friends, and sweethearts. Couples go out for a special dinner, and schoolchildren hand out cards and candy to everyone in their class. Americans typically have been known to spend quite a bit on this day.
2. How do people celebrate love in Italy? | Valentine’s Day
Before Valentine’s Day, Italians celebrated the “Spring Festival” in which young couples enjoyed outdoor poetry readings and music. Italians now celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving one another chocolates – the bigger the chocolate, the greater your love for the recipient. In Verona, the setting of Romeo and Juliet, there is an annual 3-day long Valentine’s Day festival each year called “Verona in Love”. The whole city is decorated with lights and there are a number of special events.
3. Estonia: Sõbrapäev or Friend’s Day
Valentine’s Day in Estonia, known as “Friend’s Day”, is a day to celebrate love between family, friends and couples. For single people looking for love there is something called a “love bus” where they can meet other single people and fall in love. During Friend’s Day, restaurants and shops are decorated with hearts, and friends as well as couples go out to enjoy a special meal together.
4. How do people celebrate love in Ghana? | National Chocolate Day
In 2007, February 14th was named National Chocolate Day in Ghana. Though Ghana is the second largest cocoa producer in the world, Ghanaians do not consume many cocoa products. Naming February 14th National Chocolate Day began as an effort to encourage more chocolate consumption due to certain health benefits. The country’s tourism ministry also promotes the nation’s chocolate production through museum exhibits and special chocolate-themed restaurant menus.
5. Catalonia: La Diada de Sant Jordi or Saint George’s Day
This holiday, celebrated on April 23rd exclusively in Catalonia, Spain, is for sweethearts, friends, families, and colleagues to express their affection for one another. Traditionally, men give the women they love roses and in return women give them books. Roses have been an important part of this holiday since medieval times, but the tradition of giving books began in 1923 to honor Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare on this day in 1616.
6. Japan: Valentine’s Day & White Day
In Japan, women usually give men chocolate for Valentine’s Day. There are two kinds of chocolate, “Giri-choco” which is for friends, and “Honmei-choco” which is for husbands and boyfriends. Many women like to make the “Honmei-choco” at home, believing that it is only true love if it is homemade. One month after Valentine’s Day, on March 14th, is “White Day” when men must give white chocolate and flowers to the women who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day.
7. Wales: St. Dwynwen’s Day
This holiday celebrates Dwynwen, the 5th century patron saint of Welsh lovers. After a tragic love story, Dwynwen became a nun and went to live on Llanddwyn Island. Today, many people go to visit the church of Llanddwyn and the well nearby. The fish in the well are said to be magical and capable of telling the future of young lovers. St. Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated in Wales on January 25th.
8. Philippines: Valentine’s Day
One Valentine’s Day tradition that has become increasingly popular in the Philippines is the mass wedding celebration. On Valentine’s Day, hundreds of couples come together in large, open spaces across the country to be married in one huge public ceremony. Around 4,000 couples were married in Valentine’s Day mass wedding ceremonies in 2013. The numbers keep growing.
What is your Valentine’s Day tradition?
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