Musement takes a look at traditions from different countries to inspire your Valentine’s Day celebrations.
Valentine’s Day is the feast of lovers but, for various reasons, is not much loved in turn. There are those who believe that it is only a consumer festival, some even hypocritical, those who do not have a sweet half to share it with and therefore is not very prone to a celebration, rightly so. We agree with all this, but we also think that sometimes, a small gesture of love, can please, even if it’s during a day imposed by the calendar.
Here are some traditions from which to take inspiration to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the way that best suits you.
1. England and America
The English and the Americans send romantic and anonymous cards to their “Valentine”. Although this tradition has been immortalized in the Valentine’s-Day-themed episodes of television series set in American high schools, in reality, it has much older roots. It’s been said that Charles D’Orleans, while imprisoned in the Tower of London, sent love letters to his wife, addressing her as doulce Valentinè.
February 14 is particularly felt in the Philippines, even by the institutions. In fact, the government offers the possibility of marrying en masse, free of charge, in public places on Valentine’s Day. A great feast of lovers in the true sense of the word.
In Slovenia, February 14 is the celebration day of the patron saint of spring – the beginning of the mating season for birds and humans, which is why it is traditional to take a romantic and bucolic walk through the fields of flowers…even though they’re still frozen.
4. Finland and Estonia
Some people love to celebrate with friends! That’s why the Finnish and the Estonians celebrate, respectively, Ystävän Päivän Päivä and Sõbrapäev, the feast of friends, with cards full of affection and gifts designed specifically.
Not flowers… but wooden spoons. The day of lovers in Wales actually falls on January 25 and the Welsh celebrate it “the old way” that is, doing as the 16th-century sailors did: carving intricate drawings on wooden spoons to give to loved ones, a beautiful gift that is both useful and not fattening.
Singles who are not thrilled with their state will be happy to know that France once held a loterie d’amour (love lottery) and those excluded made a bonfire by burning photos of people who had rejected them. A little aggressive–in fact, this practice is now prohibited–, but unquestionably cathartic.
8. South Africa
In South Africa, the Roman feast of the Lupercalia is taken very seriously, but fortunately no longer to the letter. During this celebration of love, in fact, locals sacrificed goats while men ran around the city wearing the goat skins and whipping women to increase their fertility. We find that there is nothing wrong with consensually spicing up your life in the bedroom, but we are happy the South Africans have opted for a quieter version of the Lupercalia: all day long, ladies wear a pin with the name of their loved one.