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Valentine’s Day Around The World
Posted by: Stacy Little Published: 2/14/17

By: Rylee Johnson and Caylee Park; The Plaid Staff Writers

   Each holiday is celebrated differently around the world, especially widely-known ones, such as Valentine's Day. Celebrations and traditions are different than here in America; although, some could be similar, varying on the countries. For example, the French women like to diabolically burn old pictures of men from past relationships. People from Denmark like to be jokesters by sending off joke letters to friends and family. In some countries, women use the day to find their one true loves or even future spouses. No matter the place, each country seems to have its own spin on how to spend Valentine’s Day.

France

   Fondly nicknamed “The City of Love,” in France we might just want to say, “Hate” instead. It seems that this day is when the French women choose to show loathing. Traditionally, the women gather around a bonfire and burn pictures of the men who did them wrong. When asked if this was correct for them to do, Mrs. Grages said, “It depends on the person. Was it really that bad [the relationship]? Just let it go.” When asked if she felt it was right or wrong, Grages said, “If it helps with issues- yes. It could be a kind of therapy.” As for what she would do if she lived in France, on Valentine's Day, Grages said, “[I] would go out and get chocolate crepes and go to the Eiffel Tower and eat it in the grassy area.” We have to admit that it sounds like a pleasant day.

Denmark

    Taking a different approach in what is the appropriate way to spend the day, Denmark seems to be more about the laughs. One idea the Danes have is to give girls joke letters. Danes actually send funny letters or cards to loved ones, family, and friends. The man is not supposed to sign it, leaving it as a secret admirer, if it is sent to his lover. Instead of using roses, people buy white flowers, known as Snowdrops. Ms. Landmesser said, “[I would like] Snowdrops. It’s different.” When asked what she would think about receiving a joke letter, Landmesser said, “[I] would love it. I think It would be funny.” It is good to know that people have a sense of humor.

  South Africa

    A person might find South Africa to be a scary place to live, but not because of crime. Instead, on Valentine’s Day, tradition has it that people have to wear the name of the persons they like on their arm all day. Yes. Women do that. Ms. Waldo believed in upholding the idea and said she would, “Follow the tradition of the country.” So, if she lived there, she would put a heart on her arm with the name of her love interest. When asked about how she would celebrate, Waldo said, “Spend it with my loved ones. Express my love. [You] should express love to everyone.”

                                               Saudi Arabia

     Celebrating a bit differently, Saudi Arabia has banned everything Valentine-related. A case in the earlier 2000’s occurred, where people were arrested for celebrating. When asked about how he would feel, if he could not observe this day, Mr Mason said, ¨[I] would be perfectly okay with that.” Since celebrating the day is illegal, when asked if he would break the law to honor the day, Mason laughed and said it was, ¨Not worth breaking the law.¨ Lastly, when asked if it would affect him at all, his answer was a stern, “No. I don't think it would.”

Finland

  Unlike the typical Valentine’s Day in the U.S., Finland breaks traditions with friends appreciating one another, as the focal point of  “Friendship Day.” The celebration, held July 30th every year, consists of friends exchanging common Valentine’s Day gifts, such as chocolates, flower bouquets, perfumes, and gift baskets, to showcase their gratitude for each other. Upon her thoughts on Friendship Day, Junior, Taylor Alejandre said, “I think it’s better because not everyone is in a relationship. Unfortunately, most of the people around me are in relationships, so I don’t know anyone who base their Valentine’s Day on friends.” In addition, Sophomore, Hannah Gewaid said, “This is more inclusive of everyone because the majority of people have friends, whereas a lot of people don’t have relationships. However, I also feel that this isn’t necessarily Valentine’s Day because a lot of the advertisement for Valentine’s Day is ‘you’re in love’ or ‘heart-shaped chocolates.’”

Italy

    On February 14th, many scope out on Valentine’s Day to find their future spouse. In keeping with that idea, Italian parents of unmarried daughters wake the girls up before sunrise and force them to set out to find their future husbands. It is said that the first man a girl sees will become her future husband within a year. So, women stand by their front windows, on the lookout for their significant others. Laughingly, Junior, Nicole Klingensmith said, “I think it’s very interesting and cool because here, we don’t really have traditions and beliefs on Valentine’s Day, like those in Italy, with the culture. But I wouldn’t say this method is very effective.”

South Korea

    South Korea has three different holidays available for everyone. February 14th is Valentine’s Day, March 14th is “White Day”, and April 14th is “Black Day.” On Valentine’s Day, girls give candies and other gifts to guys, mostly their boyfriends. On “White Day,” guys give presents to their girlfriends in return, for what they received the month before, especially white chocolate, which explains the name of the day. “Black Day” is an alternative day for single people. They come together and wear black, eat black food, such as jajangmyeon (a Korean Chinese noodle dish, topped with a thick, dark sauce), and complain about their lack of intimate relationships and chocolate gifts. Sophomore, Hannah Gewaid said, “I like it because individuals don’t feel left out, so it’s not solely focused on people in relationships. Also, I like white chocolate, but I find it weird the holidays are represented by colors, instead of emotional symbols.” When asked about her thoughts on the similarities of the holidays compared to the U.S., Gewaid said, “I think it’s similar in the aspect that we give each other gifts to show our affection towards one another, and it’s also similar, how a person who doesn’t have a relationship or isn’t in love would complain on that day, especially since Valentine’s Day signifies love in general” In addition, Gewaid added, “In comparison to the traditions we have here, it doesn’t focus on relationships as much because they have a specific day for those who aren’t in relationships. Whereas, here in America, it’s just solely relationship-based and if you aren’t in a relationship, you’re just there.”

England

    Similar to the beliefs of Italy, single women in England wake up early to find their life partner on their February 14th. However, one difference is that English women, before they sleep, take five Bay Leaves and wet them in Rosewater. Then, they put the leaves on their pillows, with one at each corner and the last one in the center. Junior, Rudy Varo said, “It just provides hope to find someone to love. The person who places the bay leaves can not only gain hope but also confidence because could’ve dreamt of someone, and if they see them, it will give them the extra motivation to engage in a conversation.” Varo’s final thought was, “I believe if that helps them believe in love better or provides hope to women, then by all means, they can do that. Finding the ‘one’ is an emotional roller coaster, so that effort put into finding their true love will eventually pay off and be highly rewarding to women.”

    We now have a taste of Valentine's Day from around the world, and how people celebrate. If they can, at least.