Valentine's Day Traditions Around the World

Valentine's Day traditions vary according to the country or place in the world. Different people and different cultures have different ideas about how to celebrate this event.

Denmark has its own unique Valentine's Day traditions. A gaekkebrev is a joking letter that is sent by men and includes a romantic verse but is unsigned. Instead of a signature, the man will use a number of dots that are supposed to correlate or to the number of letters in the person's name. If the name is guessed, then the individual will later be given an egg on Easter.

Taiwan celebrates or observes this event two times a year: February 14th and July 7th. On this day, roses are exchanged, the color and amount of roses linked to the intentions of the giver. For example, a single rose means "only love" whereas 108 roses mean "marry me."

In China, Valentine's Day is celebrated not on February 14th but on the 7th of the month. When this day comes around, couples will head to the Temple of Matchmaker to pray. One practice of this country has single women placing needles on the surface of the water when the Vega star is high in the sky.

In England, one custom has women pinning bay leaves to each of the four corners and to then consume eggs with yolks replaced with salt. This was done to ensure that the women would dream about their future husband. Another England custom has women writing down the names of their lovers, attaching them to clay balls that were then placed in water. If any of the pieces of paper surfaced, then this was supposed to be the name of their future spouse.

In Scotland, the event is celebrated with a get together or festival where the unmarried gather. Here, each person will write their name on a slip of paper and then drop it into a hat. The ladies then draw a name and then the men. The females are the ones who pin the name of the person they draw on one of their sleeves or over the heart. The males are expected to pair up with the person who has their name and to give her a gift.

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From chocolate hearts to fine jewelry, from red roses to candlelight dinners, Valentine's Day seems to bring out the love in any relationship. Traditionally observed on February 14, Valentine's Day origins are somewhat shrouded in mystery.

What is the origin of Valentine's Day? Is it just a clever marketing ploy? Was there really a "St. Valentine" and if so, who was he? 

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As with many of today's holidays, Valentine's Day history has its roots in pagan celebrations. February has been the month of "love" dating back to ancient Athens. "Gamelion," as the time between mid-January to mid-February was then called, was dedicated to the marriage between Zeus, the ancient god of thunder and sky, and Hera, the goddess of marriage.

If there is a single day dedicated to romance, to love, and to matters of the heart then it is February 14th or Valentine's Day. Sales of roses rise on that day as do chocolate sales and more cards are sent at Valentine's Day than at any other time except Christmas.

These Valentine's Day facts can clue you into the realities of this celebration. Few people know about the history of this big event, other than that it is a holiday in February and it revolves around the theme of love.

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