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How do they celebrate Valentine’s Day around the world?


While Valentine’s Day is celebrated with cards, candy and flowers in North America, other places around the world put their own spin on the holiday.

Finland and Estonia

box of chocolates

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

In Finland and Estonia (both countries in Northern Europe), February 14th is less about romance and more about friendship.

In fact, these countries celebrate Friend’s Day rather than Valentine’s Day. During this holiday, people exchange cards and small gifts with their friends.


Valentine's Day wooden spoon

Photo Public Domain by Jose-Manuel Benito

The country of Wales, which is part of Great Britain, has its own version of Valentine’s Day.

On January 25th, the Welsh people celebrate St. Dwynwen’s Day. For centuries, men gave women a "love spoon" as a token of their affection.

These wooden spoons were carved by the men and had elaborate designs on the handle. Today, love spoons remain a popular gift on St. Dwynwen’s Day and are even available in chocolate.


Valentine's Day card

Photo by Dave licensed CC BY-ND 2.0

Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet featured a love story that was set in Verona, Italy.

Today, thousands of Valentine’s Day cards addressed to Juliet arrive in the city around the holiday.


Valentine's Day chocolates

Photo by Malia licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In Japan, it’s a Valentine’s Day tradition for women to give gifts of chocolate to their male friends. That kindness is returned on March 14th, a holiday known as White Day.

That’s when men present small gifts to the women who gave them chocolate a month earlier.


Valentine's Day cake

Photo by Jeffrey Chiang licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

People who live in Denmark celebrate Valentine’s Day in a similar way to us in Canada.

However, they also show their affection by giving loved ones hearts that are made from items like pasta, cake, or flowers.


Two little birds falling in love on Valentine's Day

Photo by Vida Dimovska licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Valentine’s Day in the European country of Slovenia is for the birds. Slovenians also celebrate a day more like Canadian Valentine’s Day but on March 12th.

Tradition says that birds propose to each other and marry on this day.

It’s suggested that those who are looking for love walk barefoot through the frozen fields, so they can watch the birds wed.


Valentine's Day cookies in Germany

Photo by xgravity23 licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In Germany, big, heart-shaped cookies are a common Valentine’s Day gift.

They are often decorated with a few loving words written in frosting. Some cookies also have a ribbon attached to them, so they can be placed around the neck of your sweetheart like a necklace.

Flowers are still the most popular gift.