“Doubt thou the stars are fire
Doubt that the sun doth move
Doubt truth to be a liar
But never doubt I love”
—Hamlet, William Shakespeare
In a post about Valentine´s Day, what better way to start than with a Shakespeare quote? After all, one of our masters of literature knew what he was writing about: his pieces show his deep understanding of love and its intricacies.
Shakespeare´s love still inspires couples around the whole world – especially when it is time to write a card for Valentine´s Day. A cliché for sure, but who doesn´t like it?
Right now in Europe, United States and many other countries the enamored prepare for the typical February 14th exchange of gifts, flowers, chocolates, cards and all the other cheesy things that come with it – but in some countries there are a few different ways of celebrating Valentine´s Day. Here are some examples:
In Brazil the Valentine´s Day is called `Dia dos Namorados´ – literally Boyfriends´ or Girlfriends´ Day – and is celebrated on June 12th. The date was chosen because of its proximity with the Saint Anthony´s day, the marriage saint for the Brazilians. The traditions are similar to most of the countries: exchange of presents, going out for a dinner or to the cinema, but with one special feature: the Love Motels. In Brazil the Motels are not meant for families and mostly charge per hour, because the main customers are couples. So on June 12th not only the restaurants are all booked but also the Motels are full – with even line of cars outside with people waiting for their turn to get inside. The February 14th is not celebrated at all – most likely because at this time everyone´s mind is on Carnival.
The Day of Friendship and Love (Día del Amor y la Amistad) is celebrated in Colombia at the third weekend of September. In this day friends and lovers meet to exchange presents and have a good time. Usually friends play “secret friend” (amigo secreto). For this game the names of all the participants and are put in a bag a few weeks before so that each person picks one out. That way each one has a secret friend to send sweets. Some people include clues in the sweets, so the person who receives them can guess who the sender is. At the third weekend of September they all gather to exchange the gifts.
On February 14th the Japanese girls give their beloved ones chocolate. They can either be bought or handmade. The hon-mei (Japanese for homemade) chocolates are a proof of their dedication and true love and are made with a lot of care. There is still the tradition of giving a giri-choco to friends, bosses, colleagues and close male friends. ‘Giri’ in Japan means obligation or courtesy, and this type of chocolates have no romantic association. Giri chocolates are mostly bought from the store.
One month later it is time for the men to return the favor, by buying gifts to the girls who gave them chocolates before. This celebration is called the White Day and the presents are not only chocolates but also teddy bears, jewelry or other candies.
There is a traditional Valentine’s Day in China called “Qi Xi,” which literally means “The Night of Sevens”, since it is in the seventh night of the seventh month in Chinese traditional calendar. It originates from a fairy tale that “the weaver girl”, a fairy and a cowherd fell in love, but the Goddess forced them to separate; and they can only be together for a single night once a year by “the bridge of magpies” formed by all the magpies in the world. (Check more about this story on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qixi)
On Qi Xi, the single or newly married women should try to reeve needles while standing against the wind and under the moon. If the girl can pass the string through the needle´s hole it is believed to be an indication of the her embroideress skills, and she is then called “the weaver girl”.
Now while you wonder what to write in your card for your beloved one, check this quiz and learn how to express your love in different languages… http://pt.bab.la/testview.php?testId=925