Happy Valentine’s Day! A tradition centering around love that is said to be dating back to medieval France and England and which has gotten its name from Saint Valentin.
Until the present day this tradition still has quite some significance, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries, and is often marked by a noteworthy increase in sales of flowers, chocolates and cosmetics. However, many countries around the world have their own traditions which either resemble Valentine’s Day or originate from Valentine’s Day but have a different meaning.
In Japan Valentine’s Day or “Barentaindē” is celebrated on this day, but it is also linked to another special day called “White Day” or “Howaitodē” celebrated on the 14th of March every year. Women have a tradition of giving chocolates to men on the 14th of February, and in return men give a gift to women on the 14th of March. It does not necessarily have to involve any feelings of love or affection, but it can show which males are more popular than others, for example at the work place, by looking at the amount or quality of chocolates they received from their female colleagues!
In Sweden Valentine’s Day is known as “Alla hjärtans dag” meaning “All Heart’s Day”, which started spreading to Sweden in the 1960s mainly due to the increasing influence of American popular culture. Today it is most commonly celebrated with dinner or flowers, most notably dark red roses.
In Finland this day is called “Ystävänpäivä” and in Estonia “Sõbrapäev”, which both translate into “Friends’ Day”. As the names suggest, today is more about cherishing friendships and remembering friends with cards and small gifts, and does not have the same romantic connotation as in many other countries.
Hope you all will enjoy this day in all its different forms!