A Valentine's Day with a Difference F
or most people in England, Valentine’s Day has similar connotations- chocolate,
cards and flowers for those in relationships, and mixed emotions for those who aren’t. However, across the globe Valentine’s Day is celebrated with a wide array of traditions that are quite different to ours. So if you want to get away from the same old routine on the 14th February every year, why not change it up by taking inspiration from another country?
JAPAN In Japan, people love chocolate even more than we do. Valentine’s is a particularly good day for males, who traditionally receive chocolate from their female co-workers and friends, and “honmei-chocos” from their romantic partners- luxury, homemade chocolates that symbolise true love. So rather than buying a cheap box of chocolates from the supermarket, why not try making your own? Or, take your partner on a chocolate making masterclass or tasting day.
FINLAND For those of us who are single, it’s time to look to Finland, where Valentine’s Day is all about friendship. People give cards and presents to their friends, rather than their lovers. A “Secret Valentine” amongst your friends, similar to a Secret Santa, is a great way to exchange gifts without spending too
much money or leaving anyone out, just remember to set a price limit that suits everyone. Otherwise, show one friend how much you appreciate them by inviting them over and cooking their favourite meal.
DENMARK In Denmark, Valentine’s Day is all about the card. Some couples send each other “Gaekkebrev”. These are funny poems written on paper and often decorated. Try making your own “Gaekkebrev” by making a list of memories you have with somebody or things they do that make you laugh, and make them into a short poem. This doesn’t require any great genius- it’s meant to be funny anyway. Remember, the receiver doesn’t have to be a romantic partner; write one for a friend or family member to cheer them up.
PHILLIPINES In the Phillipines, a new custom is
Make your own chocolates or gift someone a chocolate masterclass
taking off- the mass wedding. This is where several to several hundred couples get together on Valentine’s Day to renew their vows and celebrate their love. It is unlikely that your local village hall has a mass wedding on it’s agenda for 2020, but why not share your plans with a group? Invite your friends and their partners out with you to tone down the intensity of the day and help out those who may have been struggling to make plans.
SOUTH KOREA If the idea of Valentine’s really isn’t for you, South Korea offers another option, called Black Day. This is a day specifically for people who are single, to get together and enjoy some ‘Jajangmyeon’, which are black noodles. This is the perfect excuse to order a takeaway, wear your most comfortable clothes- whether on your own or with family or friends.
Try making a photo collage, memory box or a drawing for your partner
Share your Valentine's plans with a group
Historically in Wales, men would carved intricate wooden spoons to give to their lovers on their equivalent of Valentine’s, which is called St Dwynwen’s Day. A spoon might not be what you are hoping for this Valentine’s but often homemade gifts are more meaningful. Try making a photo collage, memory box or a drawing for your partner, or write a list of reasons why you love them… they will appreciate the effort, and it will remind you both of what means the most to you as a couple.
16 | Lifein | February | 01380 734376
Photos by Alasdair Elmes, Sarandy Westfall and David Greenwood Haigh on Unsplash
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