International Valentine

Sage Santana, News Reporter

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, there are the usual signs of the holiday of love at the stores and on TV, however, there are some unusual Valentine’s traditions and customs around the world that will be celebrated this February 14.

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is a time for the women to shower the men with gifts of affection, including different chocolates that represent what value the woman has for the man.  For instance, a cheaper chocolate is given to an acquaintance or coworker, yet to a boyfriend or husband, Japanese women will give an expensive and rich chocolate.

In Denmark and Norway, men send women silly and affectionate poems anonymously, and if the women guesses who her admirer is, she receives an Easter Egg as a reward on Easter.  However, if she does not, then she owes her admirer and egg instead.

An old English tradition for women was to pin bay leaves to each corner of her pillow, and one in the center, on the night before Valentine’s Day.  This would be accompanied by a poem “Good Valentine, be kind to me/In dreams let me my true love see.” The women would pin the leaves and recite the poem in hopes that they would have visions of their future husbands in their dreams that night.

Finally, there is the French tradition.  Once popular until it was banned for rowdiness,  French singles would enter houses that faced each other across the street, with a man in one house, and a woman in the house opposite of him, and call out to one another until all of the singles were paired off.  However, if the man or woman did not like their match across the street, they would leave and go to another house to call to their loved one.  At the end of the night, all the singles who were left unpaired would have a bonfire, and burn images and objects of those who rejected them earlier that day.

This Valentine’s Day, if you are tired of the chocolates and flowers, try anonymous love notes, pinning bay leaves to pillows, or even calling out to your crush to give Valentine’s Day an international twist.

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