Celebrating Love around the World
By Ishita Dutta
Valentine’s day, also called St. Valentine’s Day is widely celebrated as the day of love and affection, every year on the 14th of February. The association of 14th February with romance dated back to the middle ages. Valentine’s Day has an ancient origin in France and England, where it was celebrated as the beginning of birds’ mating season. It is popularly celebrated in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom but it is also celebrated in large parts of the world with different traditions and cultures. In recent years, Valentine’s day has been associated with the exchange of gifts, with a market value attached to love. While in the earlier years, it was celebrated with poetry, handmade greeting cards, flowers, and chocolates, it is now often termed as a corporate profit-making holiday with commercial values being attached to romance.
In France, the village of St. Valentin is docked up with flowers every year to commemorate Valentine’s Day. The city of romance and love celebrates Valentine’s Day by attaching padlocks. In 2015, when the Pont des Arts were replaced with railings, the couples used to attach locks on different bridges around Paris to celebrate love.
In South Korea, not just the 14th of February, but 14th of every month is celebrated as the day of love. May 14th is celebrated as the day of roses, June 14th is celebrated as the day of kisses and 14th December is celebrated as the day of hugs and so on.
In Bulgaria, Valentine’s day is the day of Winemakers. It is known as San Trifon Zartan and the couples celebrate 14th February with a glass of wine at local wine stores. In Wales, the occasion is celebrated on the 25th of January since the 16th century, and it is called the Day of San Dwynwen. On this day, the couples in Wales celebrate love by gifting handcrafted wooden spoons and exchanging gifts with their loved ones.
The Philippines celebrates Valentine’s day rather differently where state-sponsored marriage events are held for young couples. 14th February is a huge event for the country as many young couples get married on this day to glorifying love. Another country in which the state celebrates love as merrily as the public is Ghana. Ghana is the largest cocoa producer in the world, and Valentine’s Day is the National Chocolate Day in Ghana. The country has fests, special menus in restaurants, and music events to celebrate the national chocolate day. The government of Ghana introduced this in 2007 to increase tourism in the country.
In Japan, 14th February is a day when women buy chocolates and gifts for their lovers, and men in Japan give gifts and chocolates to their partners on March 14th, which is also known as the White Day. The people of Peru commemorate Valentine’s day by exchanging Orchids instead of roses while couples in Denmark gift snowdrops. Israel celebrates Tu B’av with flowers and heart-shaped treats in summer. In India too, it is commonly celebrated with the exchange of gifts and feelings.
It is beautiful how love is celebrated all over the world in extraordinary ways. Although Valentine’s day may seem materialistic to some, the deeper meaning attached to it cannot be overlooked. In a world where hatred is so easy, let us reflect on ‘love’, and cherish it. Happy Valentine’s Day!