St Valentine’s Day around the world
St Valentine’s day or as it is more popularly known nowadays, Valentine’s Day is a day when most countries celebrate love. I have come across people who do not believe in the day because they are of the opinion that love should be celebrated every other day.
True, but how many people actually celebrate love with such exuberance on ordinary days of the year?
So if for one day lovers can go all out to declare their love for each other and be purposeful about it, I say bring on Valentine’s Day.
Different countries have customised their Valentine’s Day traditions and I chose a few interesting ones to write about
In Brazil they celebrate what is called Dia dos Namorados which means “Day of the Enamoured” on June 12. They celebrate it a day before Saint Anthony’s Day. Saint Anthony was a marriage saint.
In Japan, on the February 14, the women buy the men chocolate. If it is a platonic relationship or the man is a close relative the women buy a chocolate called “kiri-choco”. If the man is a boyfriend, husband or lover a different chocolate is bought, namely “hon-mei”
A month later on March 14 the men reciprocate the affection by buying any woman who remembered them on Valentine’s Day a white chocolate. The day is called “White Day” because of the white chocolate.
The French are like most countries and also exchange Valentine’s gifts, mostly flowers and chocolates. They express love to all those close to them and not just their lovers.
In the Middle Ages it was a common belief that birds began to mate half way through the second month of the year.
Everyone gets involved in Scotland The Scottish Valentine’s Day celebrations are my favourite. This day involves everyone in Scotland.
The children make cards and write poems on them. The grown-ups exchange cards and or gifts with their loved ones and close relatives.
However the cards are sent anonymously. They enthusiastically wait for the postman to deliver their cards.
They also write messages on the envelopes to encourage speedy delivery of the mail. In Scottish custom the first young man or woman one encounters in the street or anywhere else becomes their Valentine for the day.
In the evening men and women gather for games at Valentine’s parties. One of the popular games involves an equal number of men’s names and an equal number of women’s names being placed in separate hats.
A woman picks a name from the men’s hat and that becomes her date for the entire evening. These kinds of games have been known to result in unusual marriages.
The Indians were hesitant to celebrate Valentine’s Day as they believed it was a Western import and was not relevant to their culture.
However, the youth of the country are now celebrating Valentine’s Day. They too exchange the typical Valentine’s flowers, gifts and cards.
As in most countries that celebrate the day, a lot of marketing goes into the day with stores and media creating a buzz about the day.
Like the Indians, the Italians also believed Valentine’s Day to be a Western import and they celebrated their own day known as Il giorno della festa degli innamora.
This day is primarily for lovers, so platonic friends as well as family could not participate in the day by exchanging gifts
Recently, Italian lovers have begun to express love to each other through the exchange of gifts and other Valentine’s paraphernalia and going out to dinner at their ristorantes and pizzerias.
They also have a tradition that encourages the exchange of diamonds, roses and perfume, depending on the age and preferences of the person receiving the gifts.
Zimbabwe’s celebration of love heavily influenced by the West
Last but not least, we look at how we celebrate Valentine’s Day in Zimbabwe. Restaurants and hotels have Valentine’s Day specials. The dinner costs more than it could on the average day. Meals now go for twice as much with promise of something more special.
The gift shops have had hearts and teddies in their display windows well in advance. Red roses are on the increase .
Florists definitely look forward to the increase of business with deliveries of flowers to various men and women around the cities.
When I was in high school Valentine’s Day was something the school celebrated together. Being an all girls’ school the arrival of boys with large bouquets of flowers, teddy bears with hearts that had the inscription “I love you”, chocolate, single red roses and cards created a buzz among the ladies.
If you had a boyfriend it was obvious one of those gifts was yours, if you did not you at least hoped you had an admirer so you would not feel left out.
All the cards were read out in front of the whole school. Oh, the days of young, innocent, uncomplicated love. We would also send our gifts to the different boys’ schools in Harare.
Zimbabwe is influenced a lot by Western culture so we celebrate in similar manner to the United States.
The high schools also host Valentine’s Balls or dances. Maybe it is about time we seriously considered personalising our Valentine’s Day.
'With Love from the DAWG Team' by ArtfulPurpose
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