This Sunday is Valentine's in the United States. The heart-holiday inspired me to explore how the rest of the world celebrates the 'season of love'.
I began to wonder how the rest of the world celebrates love. Some countries may have felt inspired by our own February 14th. Still, others have long-standing traditions of their ways of celebrating love. I found some great traditions of how love is celebrated around the world.
My first stop on this virtual love world tour was a journey in Latin America! Mexico, Colombia, and Venezuela, the day is called "Dia del Amor y la Amistad," meaning a day of love and friendship. This day is similar to "Valentines," but in Colombia, the day itself isn't celebrated until September. This is just great timing as over half of the flowers sold in the United States for Valentine's Day come from Colombia!
Moving a little away from only romantic love, Paraguay is why we have the International Day of Friendship, celebrated on July 30th. This holiday originated in Paraguay and was officially recognized as a UN holiday in 2011.
Celebrations of love in all its forms span the world and moving across the Pacific, several nations bring their own cultural influences into celebrating love.
In South Korea, people don't limit their celebrations of love and friendship to just February 14th. They have made the 14th of every single month to celebrate various forms of love and friendship under different names. For example, December 14th is "Hug Day" for South Koreans.
Another country on the Asian continent, Japan, has decided to flip the Western gender expectations on Valentine's. The women will give chocolates to the men. For an extra fun twist, the women give what they call "obligation chocolates" to the men they have mixed feelings about and "true feeling chocolate" to their loved ones.
Searching for more celebrations of love, I found that in Europe, we see even more diverse and beautiful traditions that express love! In the same realm of exciting gifts to show love, in Catalunya, Spain (located in the Northeastern region), men will give women roses in exchange for books on April 23rd, St. Jordi's Day.
Denmark is a country that has decided to celebrate love with laughter. Sweethearts spend their Valentine's Day sending each other funny letters to brighten each other's moods!
Perhaps the sweetest way of celebrating Valentine's Day I found was in South Africa. Women will wear the name of their sweetheart on a pin on their sleeve. Carrying their heart on their sleeve, and some might use this opportunity to admit their love for someone!
I love celebrating love day, but we don't need one day out of the year to mark it; like our fellow global citizens of the world, we should love one another every day!