The Day of Love for me has always been February 14th: Valentine’s day. We celebrate by sending cards (usually anonymously) to the person we love, and hoping to get one… or more… (preferably many more) in return.
I had no idea that the Czech Republic had a completely different tradition for celebrating love, and on a completely different day! Finding this out made me want to do some research. It seems many countries have their own traditions.
Here are my favourites:
- In China, lovers celebrate the Qixi Festival (The Night of Seven) in August in recollection of an old story about a fairy and a mortal whose love so enraged the Goddess of Heaven that she separated them with the Milky Way, and now they only get to see each other once a year. The tradition is that girls offer fruits and carve melons for the ancient Goddess of Love and Relationships and pray to find good husbands.
- Japanese women should give Giri Choco (chocolates that have no romantic meaning) to male friend and colleagues on February 14, adding a handcrafted gift should they wish to show greater affection. Men then buy even more lavish chocolates for the women on White Day, a month later.
- There is a similar tradition in Korea, where they also celebrate Black Day on April 14th, when special black noodles are shared amongst self-pitying singletons. In fact, the 14th of every month holds special romantic significance in Korea.
- Argentina dedicates seven days to love in July, with Sweetness Week being all about kisses and candies.
- Aside from the customary heart-shaped gingerbread gifts, Germans also give a pig to their loved ones to represent luck and lust (either as a picture, a figurine, or in chocolate).
- An old tradition in Italy says that a girl will marry the first man she sees that day within a year!
- It is thought that an unmarried Armenian women who eats salty bread will dream of their future husband bringing her water.
- The Chileans like to spend Valentine’s walking around the city enjoying the decorations of flowers, garlands and balloons.
- “Dia dos enamorados” is celebrated in on June 12th in Brazil, when couples and families attend musical performances.
- Taiwan celebrates love on February 14 and July 7. Men are expected to send flowers; the number of flowers being important. Receiving 108 flowers signifies a proposal!
- The (somewhat new) tradition of Italians attaching padlocks to the Ponte Milvio in Rome and throwing the key in the river has spread around the world and you can see this symbol of love in many romantic cities.
- Welsh men offer their ladies a beautifully carved wooden spoon to promise to always provide for her. If she accepts, she wears the spoon around her neck.
Isn’t it interesting the various ways we all celebrate love. I must say, the Czech tradition is quite a lovely one. Perhaps I’ll try it. After all, I’d rather not wither and die too soon!
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