Valentine’s Day Around the World


Paper heart decoration for Valentine's. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

Abby LeCheminant, Staff Writer

Roses, chocolates, teddy bears, and more are all things that go flying off of shelves in early February. Valentine’s day is a holiday celebrated around the world and is a wonderfully romantic day for couples. Not only is Valentine’s Day a day for romantic connections, but it can also be celebrated by friends and family for the bonds and friendships between each other. 

The first Valentine’s Day occurred on Feb. 14, 496 AD. It was named after St. Valentine, the patron saint of the holiday. It is widely unknown the background behind St. Valentine regarding Valentine’s day, but there are a few theories. Some people say that this holiday was celebrated on the 14th in remembrance of the death and burial of St. Valentine. It is more commonly believed that it was an attempt to replace the Pagan celebration of a holiday called Lupercalia, which was a festival for fertility dedicated to a few Roman gods.

Valentine’s traditions have been celebrated for a long time, some even dating back to the middle ages. The first ever recorded valentine was given in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned. In the 18th century, it became common for people to exchange little meaningful gifts to show their love for people.

Now, Valentine’s Day is in full swing and is celebrated on an even bigger level and scale around the world. In the United States, it is a day that involves spending time with loved ones, typically those involved romantically. People exchange chocolate, gifts, and cards that express warm feelings of friendship and love to one another. 

Other countries that also celebrate Valentine’s Day have their own unique traditions. In Japan, on the 14th, women get their significant others fancy chocolates, more specifically called honmei choco, which means “true feelings.” The next month, on March 14th, the receivers of true feeling chocolates are expected to buy the women a present that is worth anywhere from two to three times more than the chocolate. 

In the Philippines, mass weddings take place. The government covers the cost of mostly everything, from the venue to even sometimes the gifts. Since the cost of a wedding can be expensive, even for a simple one, this is the perfect day for many couples to finally get married officially. 

In Italy, chocolate is also involved in their traditions. Couples will exchange tiny chocolate-covered hazelnuts, called Baci Perugina. These treats have romantic quotes covered on the wrappers in different languages. Sometimes people will give others keys, a symbolic invitation to unlock their heart. Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” was set in Verona, Italy. In Verona during this time, the city holds a four day long festival for the holiday. Lovers go and put pink and red lockets on the fencing and walls around Juilet’s balcony. 

Valentine’s day is a holiday where feelings run rampant, and where connections grow and can even be made. Many countries not listed also celebrate this romantic holiday and partake in additional cultural traditions. Celebrate Valentine’s day with your significant other, friends, and family to make the day of love count.