We are back with another edition of our ‘localizing’ series and with Valentines Day upon us, we decided to explore how our cousins from around the world go about ‘Localizing Love’.
Deemed the most romantic nation in the world, France, Paris in particular, has long been considered the most desirable destination to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Rumour has it, the tradition of giving Valentine’s Day cards is attributed to France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife whilst he was imprisoned in the Tower of London 1415.
A popular holiday for young couples in South Korea. However, gift giving starts on February 14th, where it is the women who must woo the men with presents and romantic tokens. Fear not ladies, the tables then turn on March 14th, which is also known as White Day, where men shower their partners with chocolates and flowers but take it up a notch with even more lavish gifts.
In China, Valentine’s Day is called something very different. ‘Qixi’, or the Seventh Night Festival, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month each year. It is tradition that women prepare and offer melon and various other fruits to Zhinu (a heavenly king’s daughter), in hopes of finding a good husband. Temples are usually filled with couples who pray for happiness and prosperity.
Valentine’s Day is more traditionally celebrated here. A romantic dinner with champagne and lovely gifts. One of the most popular presents to be given in Italy is Baci Perugina which are small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts. They usually are wrapped with a romantic quote printed in four languages. Good for those in multi-lingual relationships.
While most countries celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th, in Brazil they instead celebrate ‘Dia dos Namorados’, or ‘Lovers Day’ on June 12th. Celebrations across the country include music festivals and performances to help spread the love. Gift giving isn’t just for couples either, the people of Brazil celebrate this day of love by exchanging gifts and having dinner with friends and relatives too!
In times gone by, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, women in England would put five bay leaves on top of their pillows. One at each corner and one in the center, this is thought to have brought dreams of their future husbands. However a more modern-day Valentine’s tradition in England, is a romantic meal with flowers being given to the female, along with chocolates and champagne.
In Argentina Valentine’s Day is not just one day, but a whole week is put aside for this special occasion. This week is known as ‘Sweetness Week’ where kisses are exchanged for sweet treats. This was originally set up as a marketing campaign for a candy treat, but the Argentines took this upon themselves to make it a tradition annually.
May 1st is the day in which Czech lovers traditionally celebrate Valentine’s. It is common that many couples will make a pilgrimage to the famous statue of the poet Karel Hynek Macha in Petrin Park. A kiss under the cherry blossom is also meant to bring good luck for the coming year.
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