Valentine’s Day is coming — to the joy of some and saltiness of others — and you’ve probably seen the boxes of chocolates popping up in grocery stores, the sappy cards, and the rom coms highlighted on Netflix’s home page. But not every country celebrates Valentine’s Day the same way, with a box of chocolates and flowers. Here is how different countries celebrate Valentine’s Day.
While each country has their own unique traditions, the history of this romantic day is the one constant. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in honor of Saint Valentine, a priest who served in 3rd century Rome. At this time, emperor Claudius II declared that young soldiers could no longer get married since single men made better soldiers. But Valentine went against this and performed secret marriage ceremonies. When the emperor found out, he had Valentine executed.
With Valentine viewed as such a passionate and brave man during times of great adversity — helping people get married despite the risk of death! — it’s no wonder that his memory has lived on. Saint Valentine is so popular that he is now celebrated all over the world. And while every country celebrates him differently, it’s always all about love!
Valentine’s Day Traditions Around the World
Ever wondered how other countries go about this romantic holiday? Get inspired with some of these international traditions.
Valentine’s Day in Israel
In Israel, Jews celebrate their own version of Valentine’s Day called Tu B’Av. It falls on August 1 this year since, like other Jewish holidays, it follows the lunar cycle. A beautiful candle-lit dinner under the full moon? This is already straight out of a romance novel, let’s be real.
So Tu B’Av actually started as a matchmaking day for unmarried women. But in more modern history, Tu B’Av is similar to Valentine’s Day, with romantic dates, flowers, cards, and even festivals. Everyone will often wear white to these celebrations to honor the long-standing traditions. You can often find Jewish communities throwing Tu B’Av parties and dinners all over the world!
Valentine’s Day in Argentina
Is one day of romance not enough for you? If you’re a hopeless romantic, you’ll want to celebrate Sweetness Week in Argentina. Falling in July, this week-long celebration has couples exchanging candies for kisses for seven days.
Valentine’s Day in France
No romance-related blog would be complete without mentioning France. It’s actually believed that the first-ever Valentine’s Day card originated in France when Charles, the Duke of Orleans, sent a love letter to his wife while he was in prison back in 1415. Between February 12—14, visit Valentine, a French village that is decked out with stunning, romance-inspired decorations. You’ll find lit up trees, roses, and couples proposing all over.
Valentine’s Day in South Korea
One month of romantic gestures isn’t enough for some people. In South Korea, couples have the chance to celebrate their love every single month. Ranging from The Day of Roses to The Day of Hugs, each mini-holiday falls on the 14th of every month, so couples will always have a cute tradition to look forward to. One of the most unique traditions is The Black Day in April, which encourages singles to get together and eat black noodles.
Valentine’s Day in Philippines
Valentine’s Day is more than just a nice dinner for people in the Philippines. On this day, the government will sponsor an event where multiple couples all get married at the same time! This is probably one of the most romantic events you’ll ever experience. Many people will take Valentine’s Day off of work and entire cities will be decorated extravagantly.
Valentine’s Day in Brazil
Brazil had to move Valentine’s Day to June 12 since February is already packed with the Carnival celebration. Known as Dia dos Namorados, Brazilians celebrate this romantic holiday with a beautiful dinner, exchanging gifts, and going out dancing.
If you’re single, don’t worry! Dia dos Namorados also includes a ritual called “simpatias” that has single women writing the names of eligible bachelors on pieces of paper and then folding them up the night before. On the day of, they will choose a paper at random to determine who is the right man to pursue for marriage. It’s sort of like an advanced game of M.A.S.H!
Valentine’s Day in Nigeria
If your love language is gifts, Nigeria may be your Valentine’s Day destination. In this country, the biggest tradition is to come up with the most extravagant and exorbitant gift you can think of! It’s not uncommon for people to spend some of their savings on finding the perfect present.
Valentine’s Day in ROmania
In February, couples in Romania have their own unique way of celebrating love that feels right out of an indie romance. February 24th is the day when couples get engaged. To propose, the couple will go out in the forest to pick beautiful flowers to make a colorful bouquet. Then the couples will wash their face with snow to signify good luck for the upcoming spring season.
Valentine’s Day in Estonia
On February 14, Estonia celebrates Valentine’s Day in a more inclusive fashion. It’s known as Sobrapaev and is a day all about friendship. Singles, couples, friends, and family will all celebrate their love for each other with gifts, parties, and dinners. Nobody will feel left out on Sobrapaev!
Valentine’s Day in Spain
Spain’s version of Valentine’s Day is in October, known as the feast of Saint Dionysus. But this isn’t your usual romantic dinner. This festival is actually all about marzipan figures known as macadora. Men will make these cute, quirky figures for their partners. To add to the vibrant fun, there is also a whimsical parade in various villages throughout Spain.