Unusual Valentine's Day Traditions From Around the World

Unusual Valentine's Day Traditions From Around the World

Valentine's Day Love Worldwide

Here in North America, we're used to the regular customs of giving chocolates, flowers, and cards on Valentine's Day. But that's not the case for other countries around the world! As we all know, there are many ways to show love, and that's showcased by all the unique traditions these different countries all have. Whether it's a peculiar practice, a different day to celebrate love, or a completely different interpretation of Valentine's Day, here are 20 unique and unusual Valentine's Day traditions that take place across the globe.

Tyler-Nix-Pw5Uvsfcgf4-UnsplashPhoto by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

1. Wales: Love Spoons

In Wales, they have a unique tradition where instead of exchanging cards on Valentine's Day, they give hand-carved spoons known as "love spoons". It's an old tradition that dates back to the the 17th century, but it's such a beautiful and thoughtful gift to give to someone you admire. Intricately decorated with symbols of live, they make perfect display pieces in any home.

Welsh Love SpoonKmtextor on Wikimedia Commons

2. Japan: Only Women Give Chocolates

In Japan, chocolate-giving is done a little differently; it's women who are the main gift-givers on Valentine's Day, and it's not just to lovers. There are two types of chocolates given: "Giri-choco" (obligation chocolate) given to friends, colleagues, and bosses, and "Honmei-choco" (true love chocolate) which is given to boyfriends and husbands. But don't worry, girls get chocolates too - men return the favour on White Day, March 14th. 

Valentines-Day-2057745 1280Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

3. South Korea: A Black Day for Singles

In South Korea, they have a strange tradition where if you don't receive any chocolates on Valentine's Day or White Day, you then celebrate "Black Day" on April 14th, a day where singles gather to eat Jajangmyeon. These black bean noodles are meant to represent the day (they're black in colour) as they commiserate their single status.

Black-Bean-Noodles-5097423 1280Image by lalay from Pixabay


4. Denmark: Snowdrops and Joke Letters

Danish people celebrate Valentine's Day with a quirky twist. Men send women joke letters or "gaekkebrev" containing a funny poem or rhyme written on intricately cut paper. Don't expect love letters here! They sign the letter with dots instead of their name and if the woman guesses the sender correctly, she earns an Easter egg later that year.

1707429132662.pngNillerdk on Wikimedia Commons

5. Philippines: Mass Wedding Ceremonies

In the Philippines, Valentine's Day is a popular day for mass wedding ceremonies. It's meant to be a day for love, but they really take it up a notch! Hundreds of couples will gather everywhere from malls, parks, and other public places to get married or renew theirs vows en masse. It's certainly a grand communal celebration of love!

Wedding-1353829 1280Image by ANURAG1112 from Pixabay

6. Ghana: National Chocolate Day

Did you know Ghana is one of the world's largest cocoa producers? Well, on February 14th, it's not just Valentine's Day, it's also National Chocolate Day! This beloved day is all about boosting tourism and the consumption of Ghanaian chocolate; it's a fun day of chocolate-themed menus, exhibitions, and talks.

Chocolates-2224998 1280Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

7. France: Valentine's Day Lotteries

Back in the older days, France had a rather peculiar Valentine's Day custom called "loterie d'amour" which translates to "drawing for love". This practice would involve having singles entering houses facing each other and shouting across the windows until they found a pair. If you were unlucky and remained unmatched, the women would later gather for a bonfire. Weird, right?

Heart-3934786 1280Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

8. Italy: Baci Perugina

In Italy, Valentine's Day is celebrated with a very specific sweet treat. Gifts of "Baci Perugina", chocolates filled with hazelnuts and wrapped with a romantic quote in four languages, are given as a traditional sweet gesture of love. 

Baci PeruginaFabuio on Wikimedia Commons

9. Slovenia: A Walk in the Fields

In Slovenia, Valentine's Day is more than a day of love, it's about celebrating agriculture and spring. One such belief is that this is the day when birds propose and marry one another, with Slovenians walking barefoot through frozen fields in an attempt to witness this symbolic event.

Field-4452538 1280Image by Fabio from Pixabay


10. Estonia: Friend's Day

In Estonia, Valentine's Day is known as "Sõbrapäev," which translates to "Friend's Day." It's a day to celebrate friendship rather than romantic love. People exchange gifts and cards with friends, making it a day of appreciation for all loved ones, not just romantic partners.

Blonde-826027 1280Image by Nikola Pešková from Pixabay

11. China: The Matchmaker's Holiday

Instead of Valentine's Day, China has its own equivalent day of love called the Qixi Festival. Celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, it's a day to commemorate the romantic legend of two lovers, a weaver and a cowherd, who were allowed to meet just once a year. On this day, young women participate in rituals for good fortune and love, such as offering fruits to Zhinü (the weaver girl) to find a good husband.

1024Px-Women At The Qixi Festival陳枚 on Wikimedia Commons

12. Brazil: Lovers' Day in June

Instead of February 14th, Brazilians celebrate "Dia dos Namorados" (Lovers' Day) on June 12th, with music, festivals, and performances. It's a day of exchanging gifts, chocolates, flowers, and cards with lovers and friends. The next day honors Saint Anthony, known for blessing young couples with prosperous marriages.

Heart-462873 1280Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

13. Scotland: Love Festivals

In Scotland, Valentine's Day is celebrated with plenty of festivals, with one old tradition where single men and women would write their names on pieces of paper and throw them into a hat. They would then one by one draw up a name, and it was believed that if one name was called out three times, it meant a marriage would soon happen.

I-Beg-Your-Pardon-927752 1280Image by Alexa from Pixabay

14. Romania: Dragobete, the Day of Love

Celebrated instead on February 24th, Romanians celebrate Dragobete which is their traditional day of love. It's often associated with spring and the mating of animals, with couples celebrating by picking flowers together and singing songs. It's more than just a romantic day, it was about welcoming spring!

Red-Hearts-3979033 1280Image by ❤ Monika 💚 💚 Schröder ❤ from Pixabay

15. Finland: Ystävänpäivä, Friend's Day

Like Estonia, Finland celebrates Valentine's Day as "Ystävänpäivä," focusing on honoring friendships. February 14th is more about remembering all your loved ones, not just romantic partners, with cards and small gifts.

People-6027028 1280Image by Naassom Azevedo from Pixabay


16. Bulgaria: Day of Winemakers

In Bulgaria, Valentine's Day coincides with another great holiday, the Day of St. Trifon Zarezan, the patron saint of vineyards and winemakers. This is a beautiful day to celebrate love and wine together, with many participating in vineyard rituals and enjoying local wines, celebrating this day that historically marked the beginning of grape pruning.

Pink-Wine-1964457 1280Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

17. Wales: Dydd Santes Dwynwen

In addition to the beautiful gifting of love spoons on Valentine's Day, Wales has its own unique day of love, Dydd Santes Dwynwen. Celebrated on January 25th, it's a day to honour the Welsh patron saint of lovers, with people exchanging cards and gifts, following practices similar to Valentine's Day.

Heart-762564 1280Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

18. South Africa: Wearing Hearts on Sleeves

In South Africa, it's common for people to wear their hearts on their sleeves on Valentine's Day—quite literally. Individuals pin the names of their love interest on their shirtsleeves, an ancient Roman tradition known as Lupercalia, which South Africans do to declare their affection and hopefully have it reciprocated.

Woman-1612644 1280Image by Omar Medina from Pixabay

19. Guatemala: Day of Love and Friendship

In Guatemala, February 14th is celebrated as "El Día del Cariño," a day for expressing love and affection not just to romantic partners but also to friends and family. Streets are filled with festivities, including parades, and people exchange gifts and tokens of appreciation.

Young-People-3575167 1280Image by Dim Hou from Pixabay

20. Spain: Saint Dionysius Day in Valencia

In the Valencia region of Spain, they celebrate Saint Dionysius Day on October 9th which can be considered a version of Valentine's Day. It's custom that men gift their partners "macadora", a marzipan figure, as a token of love. 

Marzipan Figures At A Pastry Shop, May 2007Dan Taylor on Wikimedia Commons