Global Valentine Traditions

Get your chocolates and flowers ready, because we’re going to look into the romantic revels of the world to help celebrate this Valentines week. Learn all about the cute, romantic, and even strange traditions practiced by different countries. Who knows! You might even find a tradition you think will be fun to try out with your significant other (or with your friends if being single is your thing).

Here are some international ways people express their love and affection for one another.

South Korea
For the land of drama, pop, and fashion, Valentines is a multi-day celebration spanning several months. On February 14, girls go all out to get the men in their lives sweets and flowers on this day of love. But on March 14, it’s the guy’s turn to return the favor with flowers, sweets AND gifts. On April 14, however, it’s a day for singles to “mourn” by eating black bean paste noodles (jajangmyeon).

On the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese Calendar, the Chinese people celebrate their own brand of Valentine, called Qixi. It celebrates the story of a celestial princess and a cowherder who fell in love, were separated, and are allowed to see each other only once a year. To celebrate, single couples offer fruit in order to find a suitable partner while happy couples pray for a good life together.

South Africa
For South Africa, putting your heart on your sleeve is something you can literally do. In early February, decorations of hearts birds and other romantic imagery are put in shops and some public places. On the day itself, it is said that brave romantics pin hearts with their hearts desire spelled out on it. This is supposed to mirror an ancient roman celebration called Lupercalia.

There is a town dedicated to the the patron of Valentine's, St. Valentine, where the 14th of February is a big deal. The entire town decorates with hearts and other romantic designs and there are even romantic dinners and many other lover-themed activities. It is said to be the perfect place for a proposal or to celebrate anniversaries.


Part of the United Kingdom within Great Britain, Wales has its own brand of affection-showing that’s quite unique to it. Long winter nights or lengthy sea voyages would make young men feel lonely and pine for their special girl waiting back home. So to pass the time and to make sure they had a special gift to court the apple of their eyes with, they would carve beautiful spoons to give to them. Oftentimes, a girl would get multiple spoons from different suitors.