February has crept up on us, and so has that love-fueled frenzy to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The U.S. leads the world in spending on the February 14 holiday, at well over $100 per person on average. Roses are the most popular gift for adults, and children are encouraged to bring cards to school to exchange with their classmates.
In the same way cultures around the world have traditions come the holidays, like Christmas or New Year’s, or time-honored birthday traditions, they also observe Valentine’s Day in accordance with their cultural traditions.
If you live in Japan or Korea and are male, for instance, February 14 is your lucky day, and you’ll be receiving copious amounts of chocolate from that special lady in your life without having to give anything in return (until a month later, that is, but we’ll get to that).
Head over to Sweden, you’ll be warming up on “All Hearts Day” with gifts of jelly hearts, the local equivalent to the pastel heart-shaped candies adorned with messages like “Be True” and “Marry Me” that we find across the U.S.
Whatever way you choose to celebrate this Valentine’s Day, make sure not to hold anything back when it comes to expressing your appreciation for the important people in your life. After all, if Valentine’s Day isn’t the right time, then when is? On that note, let’s learn how people do Valentine’s Day in different parts of the world by click through our slideshow.
Additional reporting by Erik Mathes.
Brazilians don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14; instead, they celebrate the Dia dos Namorados, or Day of the Enamored, on June 12. Brazilians trade chocolates, flowers, and cards, similarly to how we celebrate February 14 in the States; however, there are also parades, celebrations, and festivities across the country to honor the day.
Denmark’s Valentine’s Day traditions started to blossom in the 1990s. In Denmark, couples often give each other hearts made from flowers, chocolate, pasta, or cake. Additionally, Danish men give anonymous “joking cards” that contain funny poems to women. If the recipient correctly guesses who sent her the poem, then she wins an Easter egg on Easter.