By: Ryan Oswald, Staff Editor, The Pawprint
Across the world, February 14th is marked on our calendar as Valentine’s Day. Historically, Valentine’s Day was established as a celebration and honoring of Saint Valentine, who died on February 14th AD 269. The death of Saint Valentine started being celebrated by the Catholic church.
However, in recent decades, the holiday has been celebrated with flowers, candy, and cards for your “valentine”. This may be the custom that we are most familiar with, but many different countries and cultures celebrate the lovely holiday in different ways with different meanings.
In Japan, women are usually the first to make the move on the famous holiday. They set out and give gifts to men and men return the favor a month later, on March 14th, called White Day. On White Day, men give white chocolate and other various white themed gifts to show their affection.
Similar to Japan, South Korea celebrates White Day as well. On Valentine’s Day, women give gifts to men, and men exchange the deed on March 14th. However, this traditional holiday continues into April. On April 14th, single friends get together and have dinner to celebrate being single together.
In Slovenia, February 14th is considered an important day to work on the fields and crops, considering Saint Valentine is a patron saint of spring. Slovenians usually celebrate the holiday a month later on March 12th.
In Finland and Estonia, the holiday is used to celebrate both friends and significant others. Cards and gifts are still given, and can be for anyone, including friends and family, and not excluding neighbors. The day is also popular for marriage proposals. In Estonia, they have an abnormal tradition that all single people ride the “Love Bus” in hopes to find someone special.
In Denmark, celebrating Valentine’s Day is rather new and modern. Younger generations started celebrating in the early 1990’s. A usual staple for Valentine’s would be red roses, however, the Danish celebrate with white roses called “snowdrops”.
The Philippines celebrate the holiday in a big way with group weddings! February 14th is a very common wedding anniversary.
South Africa celebrates Valentine’s Day with festivals, flowers and other tokens of love. It’s also usual for women in South Africa to wear their hearts on their sleeves on February 14th; women pin the names of their love interest on their shirtsleeves, an ancient Roman tradition known as Lupercalia.
In France, singles used to line up in front of houses in hopes to find a match. Women that were left unmatched would gather by a bonfire later that night. There, they would ceremoniously burn images of the men and yell insults into the sky. However the tradition was later banned.