Spicing Up the Day of Love in 2023: 18 International Valentine’s Day Customs

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Valentine’s Day Celebrations and Traditions around the Globe

Stores worldwide are currently being flooded with heart-shaped candies, stuffed animals, balloons, and various assortments of chocolates as Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. While it is common to see stores adorned with red balloons and gifting materials during Valentine’s Day in India and several other countries, there are unique ways in which couples in Bulgaria, lovebirds in Wales, and Romanian couples celebrate their love. In Bulgaria, it is customary for couples to toast their love with a glass of their excellent local wine. In Wales, lovebirds exchange specially handcrafted wooden spoons as a symbol of their affection. Romanian couples, on the other hand, venture into the forest to gather flowers and wash their faces in the snow, believing it brings them good luck. These various celebrations around the world showcase different cultural ideas about love.

St Valentine

But before exploring these fascinating and distinctive Valentine’s Day traditions across the globe, let’s delve into the history of this romantic holiday.

The Origins of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day worldwide is celebrated in honor of Saint Valentine, but who exactly was this mysterious saint and why is the festival commemorated with such enthusiasm? While the true origins of the holiday remain somewhat obscure, there are a few stories worth knowing. Legend has it that Valentine was a priest serving in Rome during the 3rd century. At that time, Emperor Claudius II proclaimed that unmarried men made better soldiers than those with families and wives, leading to the outlawing of marriage for young soldiers.

In defiance of this injustice, Valentine began clandestinely performing marriage ceremonies for young lovers. When the emperor discovered Valentine’s actions, he ordered the saint to be put to death. Another tale suggests that Valentine may have been killed while assisting Christians to escape the harsh prisons of ancient Rome, where they endured torture. Over time, Saint Valentine became so revered that couples worldwide began celebrating Valentine’s Day as a day dedicated to love.

Valentine’s Day Customs and Practices across the Globe

Discover intriguing customs and practices associated with Valentine’s Day worldwide. Contrary to popular belief, this day is not solely about flowers and chocolates. Keep reading to learn more!

a couple kissing in snowfall

1. Argentina – A Week of Romantic Gestures

In Argentina, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated in February like most countries. Instead, they observe “the week of sweetness” in July. During this week, couples exchange kisses and receive chocolates and other delectable treats. While the day initially began as a commercial creation, it has now become a part of Argentina’s unique Valentine’s traditions.

Top Romantic Dinner Spots: Puerto Madero, Rosedal

Must-Visit Places: Iguaza Falls, Tierra Del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia

Traveling Options: Argentina is well-connected by air to major countries worldwide, making it easily accessible.

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pink rose decoration

2. France – Center Of Romance

It is believed that the initial Valentine’s Day card was originated in France, when Charles, the Duke of Orleans, sent romantic letters to his wife from the prison in 1415. And the French village named “Valentine” transforms into the center of romance between 12th and 14th February. One can witness the stunning gardens, trees, and houses adorned with love cards, roses, and marriage proposals. It perhaps is the most beautiful Valentine’s Day rituals in the world.

Best Places For An Intimate Dinner: NoLita, BenoitPlaces To Explore: Paris, Eiffel Tower, Bordeaux, MarseilleHow To Reach: Direct & indirect flights both operate from here to all other major international airports globally.

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couples painting each other with chocolate hearts

3. South Korea – For A Distinctive Array Of Experiences

The amorous couples in South Korea celebrate the day of love on the 14th of every month. Yes, you read it correctly! “the day of roses” is celebrated in May, “the day of kisses” is celebrated in June, “the day of hugs in December” and single individuals commemorate “the black day” in April by devouring black noodles. It is an entirely distinct Valentine’s Day custom across the globe. 

Best Places For An Intimate Dinner: The Griffin Bar, RyuniquePlaces To Explore: Busan, Jeju-do, SeoulHow To Reach: Flights are the recommended mode of transportation.

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couples getting married in Philippines on valentines day

4. Philippines – A Festive Occasion

In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is the time when many young couples wed in an event sponsored by the government as a form of public service. Among the most astonishing Valentine’s Day festivities around the world, this one is a spectacular occasion in the country and a special day for young individuals.

Finest Places For A Romantic Dinner: The Snack Shack, Hanamaruken RamenLocations To Visit: Manila, Cebu City, BoracayHow To Reach: One can easily arrive here by air.

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black chocolate with cocoa on table

5. Ghana – National Chocolate Day

In Ghana, Feb 14 is celebrated as the “National Chocolate Day.” It is an initiative that the Ghana government took in 2007 to boost tourism in the country. Ghana is among the largest cocoa-producing nations globally. On Feb 14, one can attend performances, music events, and restaurants that have themed menus for the special day.

Finest Places For A Romantic Dinner: Bread & Wine, Kaya Energy Bar & DesignLocations To Visit: Cape Coast, Accra, Kakum National ParkHow To Reach: Direct and indirect flights to and from Ghana fly on a regular basis. Thus, one can easily arrive here via flight.

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couple holding wine glass in their hands

6. Bulgaria – Day Of Winemakers

Like any other nation, Bulgaria commemorates Valentine’s Day in its own manner. On 14 February, San Trifon Zartan is celebrated in Bulgaria, which signifies “day of winemakers.” Young and old couples celebrate their love with a glass of fantastic local wine.

Finest Places For A Romantic Dinner: Restaurant Bolero, Mario CafeLocations To Visit: Sofia, Varna, NessebarHow To Reach: Reach here by flights, the airport is connected to all other international airports of the world.

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wooden carved spoons

7. Wales – Day Of San Dwynwen

In Wales, Valentine’s Day is observed in the most distinct manner. The nation commemorates its day of love on Jan 25, which is called the “day of San Dwynwen.” On the day, lovers exchange unique and exquisitely crafted wooden spoons with one another. This tradition has been followed since the 16th century.

Finest Places For A Romantic Dinner: Cafe Citta, Slebech ParkPlaces To Visit: North Wales, Cardiff, AngleseyHow To Get There: One can arrive at the location via air travel, trains & by road.

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marzipan for valentines day

8. Spain – Feast Of Saint Dionysus

The day of love in Valencia of Spain occurs on 9th Oct. This is known as the feast of Saint Dionysus. The festival is celebrated in most regions of Spain by creating ‘macadora’, a marzipan figurine. The figurines are crafted by men to present to their female companions. Colorful parades can also be witnessed on the streets of the Spanish villages.

Finest Places For A Romantic Dinner: Jardin Secreto, Bar GalletaPlaces To Visit: Barcelona, Granada, MadridHow To Get There: A plethora of international and domestic flights operate from here, making air travel a convenient way to reach Spain.

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9. South West China – Sisters’ Meal Festival

a bunch of people eating on a long table on valentines day

In Miao, southwestern China, the “Sisters’ Meal” festival is observed on March 15th. Throughout the festival, ladies don silver accessories and splendid outfits, which are possibly the most stunning customs for Valentine’s Day across the globe. They prepare various dishes of vibrant rice that are presented on silk fabric to young men strolling along the streets. The fate of the admirers lies in the object discovered within the chosen rice. Two chopsticks signify love, while a clove of garlic indicates that the love is over before it has even started.

Top Locations For A Romantic Dinner: South West China, Indian Pagoda Chinese RestaurantPlaces To Visit: Chengdu, Emei Shan, LeijiangHow To Get There: One can easily reach here without any difficulties, as the airport operates international flights.

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valentines day in denmark

10. Denmark – A Celebration Of Love

Although Valentine’s Day is one of the recent Denmark festivals, the country also commemorates the day of affection and romance on February 14th with a twist. In Denmark, Valentine’s Day is not limited to roses and chocolates. Friends and lovers exchange handmade cards adorned with pressed white flowers known as snowdrops.

Top Locations For A Romantic Dinner: Restaurant Grønnegade, Chez BrunoPlaces To Visit: Copenhagen, Bornholm, AarhusHow To Get There: Regular flights commute to and from Denmark, making it convenient for travelers to reach the destination by air.

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11. Romania – An Unusual Celebration

flowers on valentines day

If you’re seeking a highly romantic and uncommon celebration of Valentine’s Day around the world, then Romanians won’t disappoint you. The day is celebrated on February 24th as the day when young couples become engaged. It is essentially a blend of Valentine’s Day and the celebration of the spring season. Young men and women venture into the forests to gather colorful flowers, while other couples wash their faces with snow as a symbol of good fortune.

Finest Locations For A Romantic Dinner: Zexe, Aubergine RestaurantLocations To Explore: Sibiu, Bucharest, BrasovWays To Reach: You can easily reach this place by air.

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12. Estonia – A Festival For Everyone

friends celebrating

On 14 Feb, Estonia commemorates friendship day known as Sobrapaev. This incredible festival includes everyone, from couples to singles. So not only couples, but family members and friends also exchange gifts and celebrate love.

Finest Locations For A Romantic Dinner: Ribe, Leib RestoranLocations To Explore: Tartu, Parnu, TallinnWays To Reach: It is pretty convenient to reach this place via flights as the airport is connected to majorly all other international airports of the world.

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13. Japan – Exchange Of Unique Gifts

Japan chocolate

Japan does it quite differently. It is celebrated on 14th Feb and women purchase gifts and chocolates for their male companions or lovers. Men can’t return gifts until March 14, which is called the “white day”.

Finest Locations For A Romantic Dinner: Sakura, En – Japanese restaurantLocations To Explore: Tokyo, Kyoto, NaraWays To Reach: Direct flights arrive and depart from Japan. Thus one can easily reach this place by flight.

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14. Czech Republic – Celebrate Romance

statue of the poet Karol Hynek Macha

In the Czech Republic, Valentine’s Day has gradually become quite popular among young individuals. The festival is celebrated on the 1st of May in the country. On this day, young couples embark on a pilgrimage to the statue of the poet Karol Hynek Macha, and exchange kisses under the cherry trees in the hopes of attracting good fortune.

Top Spots For A Romantic Dinner: Coda, Le GrillPlaces To Explore: Prague, Kutna Hora, Karlovy VaryHow To Get There: One can easily reach this destination without much hassle, as the airport is well-connected to various international airports around the world.

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15. Brazil – Day of Lovers

a couple having romantic dinner

Brazil celebrates the festival known as “Dia dos Namorados” or “Day of Lovers”. During this festival, people exchange chocolates, cards, and flowers. Music festivals and dance performances can be witnessed as well. Gifting is not limited to couples; families also have common dinners on this day.

Top Spots For A Romantic Dinner: Térèze, SkyePlaces To Explore: Rio De Janerio, Salvador, Sao PauloHow To Get There: Brazil’s airport is well-connected with numerous international and domestic flights, making it easily accessible.

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16. England – Festival Of Romantic Love

On Valentine’s day in England, women used to place five bay leaves on their pillows. This ritual was believed to bring dreams of their future husbands. In Norfolk, Jack Valentine plays the role of Santa during Valentine’s day. Children eagerly anticipate the arrival of Jack Valentine, although they don’t get to see the real Father Valentine.

Top Spots For A Romantic Dinner: Olive tree restaurant, Clos MaggiorePlaces To Explore: London, Bath, ManchesterHow To Get There: You can reach England by taking a flight. The international airport has connections to airports all around the world.

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Originally Italians celebrated Valentine’s day as their spring festival. Another Italian valentine’s day tradition was for young, unmarried couples to wake up before dawn to spot their future husband. Today, Italians celebrate by exchanging gifts between lovers and enjoying romantic dinners.

Dinner Served Glasses Celebration Wine Restaurant

Top Spots For A Romantic Dinner: Prego, ToninoPlaces To Explore: Rome, Venice, FlorenceHow To Get There: You can easily reach here by taking a flight as the airport is well-connected to other major airports worldwide.

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18. Slovenia – Show Your Affection

In Slovenia, St Valentine is considered one of the patron saints of spring. It is believed that on February 14, plants begin to regenerate as this day marks the beginning of working in the fields for the New Year. There is another popular belief that birds ‘propose’ to each other on this day. In order to witness this occasion, one must walk barefoot through fields that are often still frozen.

christmas food

Top Spots For A Romantic Dinner: Restavracija Most, Špajza RestaurantPlaces To Explore: Bled, Istria, LjublijanaHow To Get There: Direct flights are available to this destination, making it easily accessible.

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Whether you’re single or already in love with someone, these age-old Valentine’s Day traditions from various countries that celebrate love and friendship will provide you all with something enjoyable. So, get ready and plan your international vacation right away!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Valentine’s Day Traditions Around The World

What are some customs on Valentine’s Day?

Some popular Valentine’s Day customs include exchanging presents such as roses or chocolates, and enjoying a romantic night out or dinner. Schoolchildren often exchange Valentine’s cards, some of which may contain chocolate.

How do different countries celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Gifting items is a common practice during Valentine’s Day in India. In other countries, couples in Bulgaria celebrate their love with a glass of local wine, while in Wales they exchange intricately crafted wooden spoons. Valentine’s Day celebrations across the globe take place in diverse ways that reflect local ideas about love.

Is Valentine’s Day celebrated worldwide?

Yes, Valentine’s Day is celebrated worldwide regardless of its origin. February 14 marks a day dedicated to celebrating love in a unique manner around the world.

How many countries observe Valentine’s Day?

There are numerous countries that celebrate Valentine’s Day with joy and laughter. February is rightfully referred to as the month of romance.

Who initiated the Valentine’s Day tradition?

The history of Valentine’s Day and the tale of St. Valentine are surrounded by mystery. However, there are a few stories associated with its origins.

Is Valentine’s Day celebrated in Italy?

Valentine’s Day in Italy was previously celebrated as their spring festival. Today, Italians celebrate by exchanging gifts and going on romantic dates with their loved ones.

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