Valentine’s Day: All Around the World

Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday worldwide. Each country has its different version of St-Valentine.

Ghana – National Chocolate Day

On February 14th, it is not only love that is celebrated but chocolate as well. This tradition started in 2007 when the government created it to attract more tourists. Special talks, exhibitions, and menus are developed throughout the country to celebrate this occasion.

South Africa – Lupercalia

Women pin the name of their crush on their sleeves. This tradition bases itself on the ancient Roman pagan festival, Lupercalia, a violent celebration hoping to vanquish wicked spirits.

Bulgaria – The San Trifon Zartan 

On February 14th, it is not just love that is celebrated. The San Trifon Zartan, also known as “the Day of the Winemaker” is celebrated with a glass of wine, whether the couple is young or old. 

Estonia and Finland – Friendship Day

In these two countries, all relationships are worth celebrating, whether platonic, familial or romantic. 

Russia – Banished

Some places, such as Belgorod in Russia, banish any form of St-Valentine’s because they view it as a Western capitalist tradition. A decree was issued dismissing everything related to St-Valentine’s because it would go against their rules.

Romania – Dragobete

On February 24th, both spring and love are celebrated together. Girls and boys pick flowers in the forest, while others wash their faces in the snow as it can bring good luck, health and happiness. The name Dragobete means “the day the birds are betrothed.”

Spain – Feast of St-Dionysus

In Valencia, Spain, the day of St-Valentine is October 9th, the day of St-Dionysus, the god of wine and festivities in Greek mythology. He is known as the Saint patron of this holiday. Lively parades are everywhere in the streets, and men offer their companion small figurines known as “macadora.”

Wales – Day of San Dwynwen

Their St-Valentine’s Day happens on the 25th of January, the day of St-Dwynwen, their patron of lovers. On this occasion, men give women handcrafted wooden spoons as a token of their love. This is a tradition that goes back to the 16th century.

South China – Sister’s Meals Festival  

In Miao, South China, on the 15th of March, women cook colourful rice and dress nicely to attract young men’s attention. They offer dishes wrapped in silk, and the objects inside will predict the outcome of the relationship. Two chopsticks mean it’s love, but a clove of garlic signifies it’s over.

Japan – White Day

In Japan, it is customary for women to give chocolates to men on February 14th. A month later, on March 14th, it is the turn for men to give women chocolates as an appreciation for the ones received on St-Valentine’s Day.

South Korea – Black Day

While February 14th is the day for couples, the 14th of April is the day for singles. They mourn and celebrate their solitude by eating black noodles called “jjajangmyeon.” It is to be celebrated with friends.

Philippines – Mass weddings

Valentine’s Day is a popular day to get married. There is not enough space to get married, so some even exchange vows in the streets. The government sponsors these events.

Brazil – Dias dos Namorados

In Brazil, this holiday is celebrated on June 12th. The day of Saint Anthony, the patron of marriage, is celebrated on June 13th, the next day. Women perform rituals known as “simpatias,” wishing they will be the next to marry.

Argentine – Sweetness Week

A whole week in July is dedicated to St-Valentine’s. It’s when lovers give each other kisses in exchange for sweet treats.

Traditions worldwide make St-Valentine unique in each country. Not just a commercialized version of what is known. Take these examples as an inspiration for this coming holiday with your loved ones!


By Alicia Harvey

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