Valentine’s Day is upon us once again. The time to show the people we love how much they mean to us by gifting little wafer biscuits, flower assortments, pasta portraits (sorry Silvia) or other gestures of looooove.
That’s not to say that February 14th is the only day to say those three magic words. In fact, there are many ways and days across the globe to celebrate companionship.
From Finland to Japan, take a look at the most cutely curious customs we’ve found to show someone you love em’ on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year.
Groundhog Valentine’s Day in South Korea
Most of us already get pretty flabbergasted by the thought of one Valentine’s Day, but as they say, “it could always be worse.”
In South Korea for example there’s a day dedicated in some way to love on the 14th of the month, every month. Traditionally, though, on Valentine’s Day the ladies will give chocolate to their crushes and wait in anticipation for a response.
If their advances have been successful, on the 14th of March it’s the guy’s turn to return the favour. However, beware the “Rule of Three”, which is the unwritten rule that the present from the returning fella must be roughly three times the price of the present given beforehand. Yikes.
A sweet treat from Ghana
If the thought of having more than one day dedicated to romance made you wobbly, have no fear. In Ghana, the tradition is a lot more straightforward and sweet at the same time. Being one of the biggest importers of cocoa, it may not be a surprise that couples all over Ghana gift grandiose bundles of choco goodness to their loved ones.
If this hasn’t already won the chocoholics over, the fact that the Ghanaian government renamed February 14th ‘National Chocolate Day’ might do – Delicious.
A box of surprises in Japan
Now, I’m never going to say no to a packed lunch. Cheese and pickle sandwiches, a sweet piece of fruit and a pack of finger lickin’ salt and vinegar crisps. Don’t mind if I do.
However, the ladies in Japan take it to the next level. They will create the most elaborate lunchbox, or ‘bento’, for their lover to take to work. The more lavish and luxurious the lunch is, the more the other fellas in the office will be green with envy.
Back, pack and go in Finland
I’m all about chivalry. You’ll find me outside a window with a boombox held high above my head, blaring out the smooth sound of Barry White if you’re unlucky enough. But if you fancy showing your love in a slightly different and more extreme way, head over to Sonkajärvi in Finland, home to one of the strangest couple sports out there.
In July every year wives are carried by their husbands in a race known as eukonkanto, which takes place on a particularly precarious racecourse. As if just showing your partner you love them by carrying them wasn’t a big enough motive, the winners are gifted their partner’s body weight in ale as a prize. Get me a wife and sign me up!
Cold feet in Slovenia
Saint Valentine, or Zdravko, is the patron saint of Spring in Slovenian culture. So, the 14th of February represents the first day of Spring, a time to head to the fields as flowers start blooming in their annual fashion.
There’s an old myth that on this day the sky is full of hopeful avian creatures who are searching for their lifetime partner. The catch about seeing this spectacle of birds? You have to walk barefoot across fields, which at this point in the year will most likely still be frozen solid. Brrrrrrrrrr.
Salty bread from Grandma in Armenia
Salty bread and romance are not two things you normally hear in the same sentence. In Armenia however, if you’re single and looking you should eat a piece of salty bread cooked by none other than Grandma, or failing that, a happily married middle aged woman.
This piece of not-so-confectionary should be eaten after fasting all day on the eve of St. Sarkis Day. which is a moveable festival usually situated between January 11th and February 15th.
Fasting plus salty bread = a throat like sandpaper.
You then head off to bed where you’ll supposedly have dreams about your future lover who should offer you water if he or she is the one. But beware, if the water in your dream is murky it means you may run into problems with unfaithful partners.
Spooning in Wales
This one sounds a little bit saucy, but if your crush is from Wales and asks you for a spoon on Valentine’s day, don’t jump the gun. It’s customary in Wales for boys to carve intricate designs on a spoon and present it to their crush. The spoon is said to be symbolic of security, showing that the receiver would always have food on their plate – while obviously showing off their nifty woodworking skills. If unfortunately the feeling isn’t reciprocated, the spoon is promptly returned. But if the giver is lucky, the receiver will wear the spoon around her neck. Awww.
So, it turns out that Saint Valentine’s Day isn’t the only occasion we can be all lovey-dovey. From walking on icy soil, to using your partner as a backpack, there are a mountain of opportunities to say those three magic words no matter what the date is.
If you’re looking for a way to tell your lover you care, The Book Of Everyone has an original and unique idea with our new Wise(ish) Words for True Lovers book. Fill it with your special film quotes, your funny sayings and memories to make a perfect Valentine’s Day.