Even though we have normalized Valentine’s Day, there is nothing normal about it if you really think about it. So, we are using a martyred saint as an excuse to celebrate love, and we represent this love using a baby angel that flies around in a diaper, shooting people with arrows to put them in the mood for love. Now that we sat it like that, it’s weird, right? While this western tradition is familiar to us, have you ever thought about how love is expressed worldwide? Because some traditions are even more bizarre! Let’s find out about eight crazy ways to show love around the globe, shall we?
1. St. Dwynwen’s Day, Wales
Flowers, chocolates, jewelry – these are some of the most common gifts exchanged on Valentine’s day. But what if we told you that some people gift their partners a spoon as a token of their appreciation for St. Dwynwen’s Day? That’s right, on January 25, the Welsh celebrate this special occasion by offering their soulmate a carefully carved spoon. The symbols engraved on this unique utensil hold a very special meaning, so getting this weird gift is pretty eloquent. Who would have thought?
2. Obligation Chocolates, Japan
Japanese people have a very cute way of expressing affection or lack thereof. In Japan, people offer candy to let someone know they don’t love them back. A chocolate company came up with this idea, and it has become a tradition ever since. Typically, women give “obligation chocolates” to the men in their lives with whom they do not intend to pursue a romantic relationship. However, some lucky guy might get “prospective-winner chocolates,” which means that while the woman is not deeply in love with them, he still has more chances than the others.
3. White Day, Japan
Women are not the only ones spending a lot of money on chocolate. A month after Obligation Chocolates, people in Japan celebrate White Day. This holiday takes place on March 14, and men gift their female partners with white presents. While this campaign was an idea of the National Confectionery Industry Association to offload white chocolates and marshmallows, other non-edible presents are also acceptable, such as lingerie or jewelry.
4. Dia dos Namorados, Brazil
The well-known “Valentine’s Day” is not celebrated in Brazil because they are usually too busy celebrating their favorite time of the year – the amazing Brazilian Carnival! Instead, they celebrate love on June 12, on a holiday they call Dia dos Namorados. The patron saint of marriage, St. Anthony, is honored by this occasion. This day is celebrated by single women who, in hopes of finding a partner, participate in a series of rituals. Nothing spooky, though! Just simple things like writing the names of various men they like, putting them inside a bag, and randomly drawing a name to find out which one they should pursue.
5. Une Loterie d’Amour, France
Talking about weird traditions worldwide, we couldn’t leave out Une Loterie d’Amour, the French way of finding a match for single people. This tradition has been banned by the French government, as things tended to get out of control. Single women and men would enter houses on opposite sides of the street and then yell the names of the person they wished to be paired up with. Once a match was made, they would meet outside. However, men could choose to abandon the women and leave them behind to be matched with somebody else. The women who weren’t able to find a match would then host a huge bonfire where they’d burn pictures of their despicable matches and curse the men.
6. Diary Day, South Korea
And while we are showcasing love in different cultures, what about a little bit of passive-aggressive romance? South Korean couples have a tradition to help them avoid fights with their soulmate. On January 14, couples offer each other a planner in which they write down all the dates that mean something for each of them throughout the year. This way, there is no such thing as forgetting anniversaries and whatnot. Practical, right?
7. Jack Valentine, Norfolk, England
Everyone knows just how dark the British sense of humor can get. Well, Valentine’s day is not spared from the eccentric British humor. On February 14, Norfolk’s people celebrate Valentine’s Day with an enigmatic figure (Old Mother Valentine or Old Father Valentine) who knocks on people’s doors to leave behind a gift. Well, this seemingly innocent holiday soon became an opportunity for mischief-makers. Some poor single person would receive a giant wrapped gift in their door that would turn out to be nothing but a mean note. Pretty cruel indeed.
8. Black Day, South Korea
Couples in South Korea celebrate Valentine’s Day and White Day, but what about the single people who have to sit through these holidays without anything to celebrate? Well, a day has been created for them. On April 14, the single people of South Korea dress in black and get together to eat jjajangmyeon. This dish, which is considered comfort food, basically consists of delicious noodles covered in a tasty black bean paste. At least they get a tasty treat out of being single, right?