How Valentine’s Day is Celebrated Around the World

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Photo courtesy of blog.laterooms.com

Throughout the world, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in a variety of ways.

Charlie Spungin, Sports Editor

Celebrated first around 496 AD, Valentine’s Day is an annual holiday on Feb. 14. There are multiple stories of the roots of the holiday.

One of them is that the day comes from an old Roman festival known as Lupercalia. Lupercalia was often celebrated in mid-Feb., their official start of spring. Part of the festival was the pairing of a man and a woman via lottery, which is ultimately where Valentine’s Day comes from.

Another, or perhaps more known, is the story of St. Valentine, a Roman priest around 260 BC. The Roman Emperor Claudius II executed Valentine because of his support of Christianity and became a martyr to the religion.

People in the United States of America often are blinded to other cultures. Given this, Americans often do not know how other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day. It turns out that there is a variety of ways that the day is celebrated.

 

China

China does not have a Valentine’s Day, but they have something extremely similar. It is known as Qixi, and it is the seventh day of the seventh lunar month every year. This year, it will be on Aug. 14.

The story is from Chinese mythology. Zhinu, a king’s daughter, and Niulang, a poor man, fell in love, got married, and had twins. When Zhinu’s father heard of this, he was furious and did not want her to see Niulang anymore. Ultimately, due to Niulang and the children’s cries, he allowed Zhinu to see Niulang once a year on Qixi.

According to Chinese teacher Ms. Lei Deng Cohen, the way to celebrate Qixi is essentially identical to how Americans celebrate Valentines’s Day.

 

Columbia

Similar to China, Columbia’s version of Valentine’s Day is not celebrated on Feb. 14. Rather, it is known as El Dia de Amor y Amistad, which is translated as Day of Love and Friendship. It is celebrated on the third Saturday in September. This year, it falls on Sep. 18.

The day is not only celebrated for love like Valentine’s Day is, but it is also for friendship.

“People celebrate friendship more than they celebrate love,” Spanish teacher Sra. Maria Gonzalez-Lopez said. “It’s a day where you highlight the love for each other no matter the relationship that it is.”

Just as the United States has its own traditions for Valentine’s Day, Columbia does for El Dia de Amor y Amistad.

“We do something like Secret Santa, so it’s called Secret Friend. It’s usually done in schools or within big families, and you pick a name randomly. Then, for a week, you sweeten your secret friend, as you give them a piece of candy everyday, and then on the day of Dia de Amor y Amistad ,you give them a nice, friendship gift.”

 

United Kingdom

An old English tradition is for women to bring a dream of their future husband upon them by putting leaves in all four corners and the center of their pillow on the eve of the holiday. Furthermore, people send anonymous love letters are sent to their lovers because some believe that signing a name is bad luck.

In Norfolk, Eastern England, Jack Valentine is a Santa-like figure who leaves candy and small gifts left on their porch. 

The tradition of giving roses on Valentine’s Day came from the UK. They chose this because the rose is known as the favorite flower of the Roman goddess of love, Venus.

 

Italy

Italy’s way of celebrating Valentine’s Day is very similar to the United States. For example, people go on romantic dates, exchange fits, or go on strolls in a park. They do have an odd tradition that is not as popular as once was, where women would go out on Valentine’s Day, and the first man that they saw is who they would marry, or at least that man would strongly resemble who they would marry.