23 Unique Valentine’s Day Traditions Around the World

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but the season of love is a laudable rival. Think about the romantic dinners, chocolates, and the grandeur of emotion so vital that they dedicated a whole day to honor it.

The feast of Saint Valentine, or Valentine's Day, celebrated annually on Feb. 14th, is a special time for love. There are many histories regarding its origin, but the name Saint Valentine is a constant in the tales. Valentine's Day, which first began as a Christian feast day to honor a Christian saint, has now evolved into a much vaster concept. It has become both a religious and cultural celebration of love, one that is recognized around the world.

While most parts of the world celebrate Valentine's Day with heart-shaped toys, red-colored balloons, and a handful of chocolates, some celebrate through unconventional methods and traditions.

1. Ghana

In this West African country, Valentine's Day is first celebrated by literally painting the country red, with Ghanaians dressing up in red attires to mark the celebration.

But it isn't just dressing up in colors of red and white. In Ghana, citizens also celebrate Feb. 14th as National Chocolate Day. This tradition began in 2007, and its purpose is to ensure that locales eat chocolate made in the country.

Fun fact: Ghana is one of the largest cocoa-producing countries in Africa and the World.

2. Estonia

In Estonia, in Northern Europe, Feb. 14th is known as Sõbrapäev, which translates to Friend's Day. Estonians see Valentine's Day not just as a celebration of romantic love but also as a day to celebrate platonic love between friends. This means both single people and couples get to join in the thrill the day brings.

This is such a beautiful way to spend Valentine's Day, especially for the Estonia singletons, as they enjoy the celebration without feeling left out in the appreciation of love.

3. Argentina

Argentina is famous for many things, from its passion for football and tango to its quality wine and delicious food. But amidst these, Argentinians also have their unique Valentine's Day.

The people of the second-largest country in South America do not celebrate Valentine's Day as we know it. Instead, they have a week-long celebration. It is called the week of sweetness and it happens in July, not February.

During this week, lovers exchange kisses and receive chocolates and other sweets. Historically, the celebration began as a commercial invention, but later on, it became Valentine's Day (week) tradition for them.

4. France

There are rumors that the Duke of Orleans penned the first French Valentine greeting card, while he was in prison in 1415, and he addressed said card to his wife.

That aside, traditionally, the French had a different way of honoring St. Valentine. On Valentine's Day, the singletons of France stand outside, calling on other single people to join them until they are paired up. As cute as that may be, there's a small catch: if the man is not attracted to the woman, he can decide to leave her for another.

In the end, all the single ladies left unpaired make a bonfire and burn the pictures of men who rejected them. Thankfully, these days, Valentine's Day in France revolves around decorated homes, gifts, and Valentine's greetings.

5. South Korea

In South Korea, the 14th of every month is a day to celebrate love in one way or another.

This means that Valentine's Day in South Korea is just one of the 12 love days they celebrate. The days have their themes and what they stand for. For instance, on Valentine's Day (Feb. 14th), Korean women give chocolates to men to show their affection.

The following love day is White Day (Mar. 14th); on this day, the men reciprocate the women who gifted them by giving them something nice. Initially, the gifts were white, hence the day's name, but recently, lovers have introduced different colors.

Another exciting celebration is Black Day (Apr. 14th), reserved for the singletons who didn't receive gifts on Valentine's Day and White Day. They get to eat black noodles with their other single friends.

The other days are Rose Day (May 14th), Kiss Day (Jun. 14th), Silver Day (Jul. 14th), Green Day (Aug. 14th), Photo Day (Sept. 14th), Wine Day (Oct. 14th), Movie Day (Nov. 14th), Hug Day (Dec. 14th), and Dairy Day (Jan. 14th).

6. Philippines

The Republic of the Philippines is a Southeastern Asian country with renowned natural wonders ranging from underground rivers to vibrant festivals showcasing the place's beauty.

On this day, couples meet at a special gala on the shores of Manila Bay. Then, at the stroke of midnight, they all share a kiss with their significant others.

The special day also sees free weddings organized by the government as a public service for couples who want to get hitched on the day of love.

7. Bulgaria

This country is filled with rich heritage and traditions; you can see this in their dances, music, costumes, crafts, and even in their celebration of Valentine's Day.

Although St. Valentine's Day is not a Bulgarian tradition, for many people in Bulgaria, Feb. 14th is exceptional because it involves a lot of romance and love.

The celebration is also two-part because it shares it with another; St. Trifon, the Patron saint of vineyards. On Valentine's Day, Bulgarians celebrate the Day of Winemakers. It is a day dedicated to wine and feasting, where couples celebrate over glasses of locally made wine and a couple of glass-clinking cheers.

8. Wales

Wales, a country in Great Britain, is known to have some of the most beautiful beaches and the friendliest people in the world.

The Welsh people have their equivalent of Valentine's Day, St. Dwynwen's, which is celebrated on Jan. 25th. St. Dwynwen is the patron saint of lovers in Wales, so it's not hard to imagine that they choose this over the conventional Valentine's Day.

Here's the difference: couples in Wales exchange sentimental gifts — love spoons. These unique handcrafted wooden spoons of different shapes tell stories in every knot, carving, and symbol.

9. China

The world's most populous country has a different Valentine's Day celebration. They call it the Qixi Festival, celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. The day's history is based on the romantic story of Zhinu and Niulang.

On the night of the Qixi Festival, single or newlywed women go out to the courtyard, hang garlands of flowers and make offerings. Although now, people celebrate Chinese Valentine's Day by giving gifts to their lovers.

10. Denmark

Denmark is a European country ranked as one of the safest places to live. For the celebration of Valentine's Day in Denmark, Feb. 14th is a day of bountiful, unashamed love and romance.

Of course, while most places celebrate with red gifts and flowers, friends and lovebirds in Denmark commemorate it by exchanging handmade cards with white flowers called snowdrops. They attach these snowdrops to the cards and send them to the recipients.

11. Romania

This southeastern European country celebrates its day of love twice a year. The first is on Feb. 14th, International Valentine's Day, and on Feb. 24th, known as Dragobete Day. It is the traditional Romanian lovers' day.

Although, for Romanians, Valentine's Day is more popular than Dragobete Day. Couples celebrate it by revealing their relationships, with some getting engaged.

12. The Czech Republic

The celebration of Valentine's Day by people in the Czech Republic is not on Feb. 14th. The Czechs celebrate their lover's day on May 1st every year.

They regard it as the country's Day of Love and International Labour Day. The reason for the date is that the Czechs believe that on this day, lovers can go share a kiss under a blossoming cherry tree at the statue of the poet Karol Hynek Macha. This will ensure they have a life filled with happiness and good health.

13. Brazil

In Brazil, they have their own version of Valentine's Day on Jun. 12th, every year. This is because Jun. 13th is the day Brazilians celebrate St. Anthony of Padua. He is their patron saint and the protector of the souls who love one another.

Brazilians also see St. Anthony as a marriage saint who blessed young couples. On this day, lovers, family, and friends exchange gifts such as chocolates, flowers, and cards.

14. England

You would likely see couples in England going out for romantic meals on Valentine's Day. Besides that, some other traditions are celebrated there, like giving a loved one a heart-shaped cake, chocolate sweets, valentine's cards, teddy bears, etc.

They do not leave family and friends out of it, either. Many people send cards to their family and friends to show they love them. It is truly a festival of love for the English.

15. Italy

Valentine's Day in Italy has traditions embedded in a long history. Historically, Valentine's Day in Italy (known as La Festa Degli Innamorati) was celebrated as a Spring Festival. They celebrated it as an advent of Spring, and it involved spending time outside with loved ones.

Until today, Italians consider Valentine's Day a big deal in Italy. And well, Italians are in love with love, so this is no big surprise. Today, lovers exchange gifts and go for romantic dinners in honor of St. Valentine.

16. Slovenia

Over in Slovenia, the celebration of Valentine's Day involves plants and birds. Slovenians celebrate The Day of love by starting work in their fields and/or walking through it barefoot. According to their history, St. Valentine is one of the patron saints of Spring, so they believe plants begin to grow in February.

About the birds, they also believe on this day, birds “propose” to their loved ones and get married to them.

17. Spain

Valentine's Day (El Día de San Valentín in Spanish), although not a traditional Spanish holiday, is celebrated with sweet gifts, decorations in shades of red and pink, and romantic dinners, just like in most countries.

An exciting twist to the Spanish celebration of Valentine's Day is that different parts of Spain have different versions and dates, all with unique traditions.

For instance, in Catalonia, they celebrate it on Apr. 23rd on St. George's Day or La Diada de Sant Jordi, and the gifts exchanged are usually books and roses.

Another instance is Valencia's Day of Saint, which is celebrated on Oct. 9th in Valencia and is considered the most romantic day of the year. It is a public holiday with many festivities and parades in the region.

18. Finland

For all the singletons who do not mind flying solo, Finland might be your dream come true place to celebrate Valentine's Day. This is because they all focus the day's hustle and bustle on celebrating with friends.

Valentine's Day in Finnish is called Ystävänpäivä, which translates to Friend's Day. It is a day for the public declaration of friendship. It also has a pink rose as its official flower, and instead of lovers gifting themselves, friends get to be the center of attraction.

19. Peru

Feb. 14th is a public holiday for Peruvians. This gives them the time to prepare and plan for a huge Valentine's Day celebration. They hold weddings for all the couples who want to get married on one of the most romantic days of the year, if not the most.

Also, instead of giving out roses as gifts on Valentine's Day in Peru, they give out a native flower of the country — orchids.

20. Thailand

The Thais love all things Valentine; they even consider Valentine's Day a day of luck, making it a significant holiday. Their celebration involves sharing gifts such as cute teddy bears, flowers, or any other romantic gift.

As a bonus, most couples get married on that day as well. This mainly occurs in the Bang Rak district, also known as the village of love. In the Bang Rak district, it is not uncommon to see several couples waiting in line just to get married and register their marriage on Valentine's Day.

21. Vietnam

Currently, Valentine's Day celebration in Vietnam comprises many fascinating activities for couples. Vietnam is lovely to visit for Valentine's Day — it is dedicated to lovers and would-be lovers, giving them a chance to express their feelings to themselves.

Vietnam even has romantic tourist destinations that couples can visit, such as Hanoi, Danang City, Phan Thiet City, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam introduced Valentine's Day to its locales a couple of years ago, resulting from cultural exchanges with other countries. Although they kept to the original meaning of Valentine's Day, they made some changes to suit the locals.

Now, Valentine's Day celebrations in Vietnam are reserved for romantic love and the giving of gifts.

22. India

India has a culture filled with so many ancient traditions. While the traditional Valentine's Day celebrations clash with the conservative religious background in India that frowns upon lovers being so open about their relationship that they display affection publicly. Even couples who are not married share in the festivity. Now, they recognize it as a momentous event in the country, with younger couples celebrating it as a romantic holiday. Although most Indians would still prefer to celebrate the day with their families.

23. Nigeria

Feb. 14th is pretty intense in Nigeria. It starts with hearty calls and Valentine's Day greetings, followed by grand gestures intended to make another feel special. It also has unofficial colors — red and white. One can find streets, hotels, restaurants, and even people's outfits blazing in these colors. Most hotels, bars, and public service centers also host free events in commemoration.

In Nigeria, there would likely not be bouquets going from hand to hand, but there might be boxes of chocolates. And even though it is a day for deep affection, the most appreciated gifts are tangible ones — and money.

Around the world, Valentine's Day celebrations are different and unique, even though certain regions do not acknowledge it. They go to show how far people and cultures would go to prove and appreciate the essence of love and their loved ones.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Boloere Seibidor, fondly called B.S. is a Nigerian based writer and poet. Her favorite topics to cover include music, especially Hip-Hop, film, lifestyle, and fashion. She's been published by Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably, Wealth of Geeks. She enjoys romantic dinners, movie nights, and touring new sites. When she's not writing, she's delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.