We often forget that other cultures exist in the world until 14th February comes and we are reminded of the annual tribute to love, Valentines Day – the Day of Love. Thanks to globalization, it is now possible to witness and celebrate the cultural dissemination between two or more countries, that otherwise may or may not share the same traditions.
Today, Americans are not the only people who are celebrating Valentine’s Day. This day of love is celebrated all over the World, even in the non-English speaking countries. Some even have their own fascinating customs attached to it…
On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, girls in Japan present chocolates or gifts to the man they love or perhaps any important man in their life. However, the men do not reciprocate the feeling instantly by giving return gifts. Instead, the Japanese celebrate White Day, exactly a month later, i.e on March 14th. White Day is just the reverse of Japanese Valentine’s Day. On this day, the men who earlier received gifts or chocolates will then reciprocate. This Tradition was started in 1960s by a Marshmallow company. Even Korea follows the same tradition.
The lovers here exchange not just flowers, chocolates and heart shaped gifts, but also a special type of gift in the form of “Pig”. Yes, Pig which embodies both, lust and luck. So, you’ll see lovers exchanging a pig shapped chocolate, a miniature statue of pig or any other form that the lovers find appropriate. They also make heart shaped ginger cookies containing romantic messages, mostly “Ich Liebe Dich” meaning I Love You.
In the land of Tango, wine and passion, one day is too less to celebrate Valentine’s Day. So, South America’s captial of Romance celebrate the eve for an entire week. Besides, they also celebrate “sweetness week” in July where both, friends and lovers exchange candies and kisses.
V Day is a day of love and fun, celebrated mostly by the young lots. Here, the lover sends his girl a Valentine card (Lover’s card) along with a gaekkebrev (joking letter). This is an anonymous letter where the man pens down a poem for his girl. If the girl recognizes the sender, the boy rewards the girl with an Easter egg during Easter.
Although Chinese have adapted the western Valentine’s Day, they have their own day of Love known as the Qixi Festival. This festival is celebrated usually on the 7th day of the 7th Lunar Month, which is early August. There is a tragedy old ancestral story too attached to this festival.
According to the legends, Once a fairy Zhinu (a star) met a mortal young man named Niulang. They both fell in love at first sight and even got married. However, the Goddess of Heaven didn’t like this union so she created Milky way to separate the couple. The lovers Zhinu and Niulang got the chance to each other once in a year during the Qixi Festival. Chinese girls during this festival offer prayers to the ancient Goddess of Love and pray for a good husband.
Indians celebrate Valentines Day in the traditional American style where lovers are seen exchanging token of love in the form of cards, heart shaped gifts, chocolates and even soft toys. However, in India, the day is only celebrated amongst the young lot as others see the festival as a western import, shying to rejoice the carnival to the fullest. Still, there exist a huge and growing number of people in India those who love the feeling behind this romantic and beautiful festival.