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Celebrating Love Around The Globe: Valentine’s Day Traditions In 10 Countries

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day, universally recognised as a day of love and romance, is celebrated across the globe in myriad fascinating ways. While the Western notion of Valentine’s Day has permeated many cultures, local customs and traditions have shaped unique celebrations in different countries. From gift-giving to symbolic gestures, Annie Waldron, a relationship expert  at The Best Dating Sites  takes us  on a journey to explore how ten diverse nations honour the day of love.


In Japan, Valentine’s Day sees women gifting chocolates to men, with the types of chocolates signifying different relationships. While “Honmei-choco” represents true love and is reserved for romantic partners, “Giri-choco” is given to male friends and colleagues, acknowledging a broader spectrum of relationships. The following month, on White Day, men reciprocate to those who gifted them, widening the circle of appreciation beyond romantic love.

South Korea

Echoing Japan’s tradition with a unique twist, South Korea celebrates love on the 14th of every month. Valentine’s Day is for women to gift chocolates to men, and White Day sees men returning the favour. For singles, April 14th is Black Day, a day to gather and eat Jajangmyeon (black bean paste noodles), celebrating or commiserating singlehood in a communal, festive atmosphere.


Wales celebrates Dydd Santes Dwynwen, the Welsh day of love, on January 25th. A standout tradition is the exchange of lovespoons, a gesture that extends beyond romantic couples to include tokens of affection among family and friends. This centuries-old custom symbolises care and consideration for all loved ones, irrespective of romantic involvement.


The Philippines has embraced a grand Valentine’s Day tradition with mass wedding ceremonies. However, for those not walking down the aisle, the day is also a time for communal celebrations, where singles and couples alike participate in festivals and public events, showcasing the collective spirit of love and community.


“Brazil’s Dia dos Namorados” on June 12th is a day for lovers, but it’s also embraced by all as a celebration of love in its many forms. Festivities and social gatherings on this day offer a space for everyone, including singles, to enjoy the company of those they care about, emphasising love’s universal appeal.


Italy, known for its romantic vistas, originally celebrated Valentine’s Day as a Spring Festival. Today, it’s a day for lovers, but also a time when singles engage in social traditions, such as gatherings and parties, celebrating the joy of friendship and the possibility of future love.


In France, Valentine’s Day is deeply romantic, but the country’s history of matchmaking lotteries speaks to a broader social celebration. Nowadays, singles and friends partake in dinners and parties, celebrating love in its myriad forms, not confined solely to romantic expressions.


Denmark’s Valentine’s Day includes “lover’s cards” and “snowdrops” for romantic and platonic relationships alike. The “gaekkebrev,” a humorous poem sent anonymously, offers a playful way for all to engage in the day’s festivities, with the mystery sender adding a touch of intrigue and fun for singles and couples alike.

South Africa

In South Africa, Valentine’s Day is a vibrant public celebration. The tradition of wearing one’s heart on their sleeve by pinning the name of a loved one is a practice that singles adapt by celebrating crushes or expressing love in a light-hearted, inclusive manner, making the day a fun expression of affection for all.

Finland and Estonia

In Finland and Estonia, “Friend’s Day” emphasises love’s platonic side, making it a perfect occasion for singles to celebrate. The day is marked by the exchange of cards and gifts, recognizing the importance of friendships and the value of expressing care and appreciation for the people in our lives, regardless of romantic status.

Annie Waldron, relationship expert at The Best Dating Sites says:

Valentine’s Day around the globe encompasses a wide range of practices that celebrate love in all its forms. From romantic gestures to acknowledgments of friendship and self-love, these traditions reflect the evolving nature of the day—a time not just for couples, but for everyone to express love and appreciation for the people in their lives, making it a truly inclusive celebration.