Card written? Flowers ordered? Candlelit table booked? Perfect! Now read on to see how lovebirds everywhere are celebrating Valentine’s Day this year – from Norwegian love notes to Chinese kissing contests.
And don’t forget, if you’re looking to send a little extra home to your loved ones, Azimo transfers to more than 190 countries, and you always get a brilliant rate, super-low fees and lightning-fast service. What’s not to ♥?!
The Brits are a pretty reserved bunch on the whole. But in early February, supermarkets, card shops and florists across the land are flooded with heart-shaped cards, heart-shaped chocolates and hugely overpriced roses. Spending figures are astonishing with more than £1.6 billion lavished on Valentine’s treats each February. That includes around £40 million of cheesy cards, plus a million bunches of flowers plucked off the shelves at major supermarket chain Tesco alone.
If anyone knows how to celebrate the power of love, it has to be the French. Paris even has its own love bridge, the Pont des Arts. It’s famous for couples attaching padlocks to the railings and hurling the key into the River Seine as a symbol of everlasting love. Hearts were broken in 2015, though, when the city started removing some of the million love locks. Sadly, love wasn’t lifting anything up. Instead, the bridge was collapsing beneath the weight of 45 tonnes of added metal.
Valentine’s Day in Finland isn’t just about slipping a love note into the handbag of your office crush or the textbook of your school sweetheart. Here, 14th February is seen as a chance to embrace all those close to you (always a danger when it’s dark for six months of the year). Ystävänpäivä means ‘Day of Friendship’ and it’s the time to show love in a big way to friends, colleagues, neighbours, you name it. The only problem is you might end up having to buy an awful lot of chocolates along the way.
Norway has had its fair share of famous writers, so it’s no surprise that Valentinsdagen comes with a literary twist. Secret admirers don’t just send the object of their desire a bunch of roses, they also have to come up with a funny little poem known as a gaekkebrev. The only clue to the sender’s identity is a dot for each letter of their name at the end. If the recipient manages to guess who the poem is from, they’re rewarded with an Easter egg (and possibly a whole lot more).
Brazil is the home of sun, sea, sand and samba, where sexy is a way of life. Unlike many other countries, though, V-Day isn’t celebrated in February. Everyone’s too busy enjoying Carnival, with dancers parading through the streets dressed in little more than a pair of high heels and some tassels. If that all sounds a bit steamy, Brazil does tone things down a bit for Dia dos Namorados on 12th June. It honours Saint Anthony – the patron saint of matchmaking and marriages – with no tassels attached.
Japan & South Korea
Valentine’s Day in Japan is a one-sided affair, with women in charge of the treats. The tradition is for ladies to give chocolates to their male sweetheart – honmei-choco (literally ‘true-feeling chocolates’). But men don’t have it all their own way. A month later it’s the turn of White Day, when the gents have to repay the favour with added interest. South Korea’s celebrations are similar to Japan’s, but with a small local twist. On White Day here, single folk celebrate the joys of single life by tucking into jajangmyeon, a dish of white Korean noodles and black bean sauce.
Chinese Valentine’s Day (Qixi) is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar calendar. There’s a strong emphasis on getting the millions of single twentysomethings out, about and looking for love. But this being China, Qixi is no small-scale dinner for two. Instead, you can expect mass blind dates and kissing contests. One 30,000-strong blind date in Hangzhou encouraged men to measure the bust size of potential dates to get to know them better, while a tug-of-war was also organised. It gives the phrase ‘on the pull’ a whole new meaning.
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