Friday 14th February will see couples all over the world celebrate Valentine’s Day. But how do people from different countries and cultures celebrate the occasion? Olamide Adeotoye explains how three very different countries choose to mark the 14th…
In China, men traditionally give their spouse or loved one chocolates and flowers – something that is fairly common. However, they celebrate the ‘Qixi Festival’ (Chinese Valentine’s Day) on the seventh day of the seventh month of their lunar calendar. They don’t celebrate the day on its traditional date as it is too close to Chinese New Year.
In India it was once their tradition to adore Kamadeva (the lord of love), highlighted by the sensual writings contained within Kama Sutra. This tradition was lost until around the middle-ages, when Kamadeva was no longer celebrated and public displays of affection were frowned upon.
In the present day, Hindu and Muslim leaders/traditionalists have referred to the public holiday as being an example of cultural contamination from the west. They instead promote the alternative holiday of ‘Matri Pitri Pujan Diwas’ (Parents Worship Day), which is celebrated in public schools within Chhattishgarh. However, despite protests, the concept of Valentine’s Day is becoming more popular in that part of the world.
3. South Korea
In South Korea, women give chocolate to men on February 14th while men give non-chocolate based candy to the women on March 14th (White Day). On April 14th (Black Day), those who didn’t receive any gifts on either day go to a Korean restaurant and eat black noodles (jajangmeyon) and mourn their single life. Koreans also celebrate Pepero day on the on November 11th, an occasion where younger couples gives their partners pepero cookies. In addition, the 14th of every month is a love-related day in the country. Candle Day, Valentine’s Day, White Day, Black Day, Rose Day, Kiss Day, Silver Day, Green Day, Music Day, Wine Day, Movie Day, and Hug Day, are all celebrated.