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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.