You may be surprised that many countries celebrate Valentine's Day in the same ways... and some of the unusual twists that local cultures put on the holiday! The table below lists many countries in alphabetical order and shows by column what they have in common, and what is different!
|Country||Notes and exceptions (If blank, it is the same as in the west roses, chocolate, cards, etc. )||Date||Duration||Are roses or flowers given?||Is chocolate or candy given?||Are cards given?|
|Argentina||In addition to February 14th, they have “sweetness week” from July 13th to July 20th; the 20th is “Friendship Day”.||Feb 14th and July||1 week||Y||Y||Y|
|Australia||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Austria||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|America||No place commercializes an occasion like America...sigh. But who can resist chocolate?||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Brazil||Brazil's Carnival often coincides with Valentine's Day but they also have “Dia dos enamorados” or “Lovers day” on June 12th and may include musical performances held throughout cities and towns. Brazilians also celebrate “Saint Anthony’s Day,” on which singles commemorate the patron saint of marriage by performing rituals to enhance their chances of finding a good husband or wife.||June 12th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Britain||As a whole, Valentine's Day is celebrated much the same as other countries, but there are regional variations, so see "England", "Scotland" and "Wales". Throughout the UK, children may sing special songs, and are rewarded with gifts of candy, fruit or money.||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Chile||“Dia de San Valentin”||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|China||Valentine's Day is called lovers' festival (simplified Chinese: 情人节; traditional Chinese: 情人節; pinyin: qīng rén jié). The "Chinese Valentine's Day" is the Qixi Festival, celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. It commemorates a day on which a legendary cowherder and weaving maid are allowed to be together. In Chinese culture, there is an older observance related to lovers, called "The Night of Sevens" (Chinese: 七夕; pinyin: Qi Xi). Chinese girls during this time pray to find good husbands, and offer fruits and carve melons for Zhinu, the ancient goddess of love and relationships. But many Chinese now celebrate western Valentine's Day complete with romantic gift exchanges and special dates.||on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar||1 day|
|Denmark||People give friends and lovers pressed white flowers called snowdrops. The valentine card is called a "lover's card."||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|England||Single women used to put 5 bay leaves on their pillows to bring a husband.||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Estonia||Valentine's Day is called sõbrapäev, which means "Friend's Day" and is more about friends than lovers||Feb 14th|
|Finland||Valentine's Day is called ystävänpäivä which means "Friend's Day" and is more about friends than lovers||Feb 14th||`|
|France||An old custom known as "drawing for" in which unmarried individuals, both young and not so young, would go into houses facing each other and begin calling out across from one window to another, has been abandoned in favor of cards, flowers and chocolates. The French are said to be the originators of Valentine's Day cards. See this page.||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Germany||Similar to other parts of the world, but less commercial as in other parts of the world, German lovers exchange not only chocolates, flowers, and heart shaped gifts, in some regions, a pig, which represents luck and lust. Usually not a real pig, but instead a chocolate or ceramic pig. Also ginger cookies in heart shapes with “Ich liebe dich” (I love you) and other romantic messages written on them.||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Greece||Valentine's Day, or Ημέρα του Αγίου Βαλεντίνου in Greek, in the past, was not associated with romantic love; In the Eastern Orthodox church there is another Saint who protects people who are in love, Hyacinth of Caesarea (feast day July 3), but in contemporary Greece, this tradition has mostly been superseded by the "globalized" form of Valentine's Day||Feb 14th|
|India||Prior to the Middle Ages, there was a tradition of adoring Kamadeva, the lord of love; exemplified by the erotic carvings in the Khajuraho Group of Monuments and by the writing of the Kamasutra treaty of lovemaking. Public displays of sexual affection became frowned upon which continued until the 1990s. Global Valentine's Day celebrations caught on in India around 1992 when it was spread due to the programs in commercial TV channels, such as MTV, dedicated radio programs etc. Right wing Hindu nationalists are also hostile still hostile to the holiday.||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Iran||The Sepandarmazgan, or Esfandegan, is a festival where people express love towards their mothers and wives, and it is also a celebration of earth in ancient Persian culture. It has been progressively forgotten in favor of the Western celebration of Valentine's Day. The Association of Iran's Cultural and Natural Phenomena has been trying since 2006 to make Sepandarmazgan a national holiday on February 17, in order to replace the Western holiday. In 2011, the Iranian printing works owners' union issued a directive banning the printing and distribution of any goods promoting the holiday, including cards, gifts and teddy bears. "Printing and producing any goods related to this day including posters, boxes and cards emblazoned with hearts or half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day are banned ... Outlets that violate this will be legally dealt with", the union warned.||Feb 14th|
|Israel||In ancient times girls on Tu B'Av would wear white dresses and dance in the vineyards, where the boys would be waiting for them (Mishna Taanith end of Chapter 4). This ancient tradition has been revived and transformed into the Jewish equivalent of Valentine's Day It shares many of the customs associated with Saint Valentine's Day in western societies.Tu B'Av is a popular day to pronounce love, propose marriage and give gifts like cards or flowers.[||August 15th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Italy||Centuries ago, Valentine's Day was once celebrated as a Spring Festival, held in the open air, where young people would gather in tree arbors or ornamental gardens to listen to music and the reading of poetry. An old tradition holds that the first man a girl sees that day will become her husband and they would be married within a year.||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Japan||Morozoff Ltd. introduced the holiday for the first time in 1936, when it ran an advertisement aimed at foreigners. Later in 1953, it began promoting the giving of heart-shaped chocolates; other Japanese confectionery companies followed suit thereafter. In 1958, the Isetan department store ran a "Valentine sale". Women usually gave the men they favored chocolates. So, in the 1980s, the Japanese National Confectionery Industry Association led an advertising campaign to make March 14 a "reply day", where men are expected to return the favor to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine's Day, calling it White Day for the color of the chocolates being offered. Men are expected to return gifts that are at least two or three times more valuable than the gifts received in Valentine's Day, so instead of white chocolate, now the gifts are jewelry, accessories, clothing and lingerie. And a slightly different version of a holiday based on a lovers' story called Tanabata (七夕) has been celebrated for centuries, on July 7th.||February 14 and March 14
(and July 7th. ).
|Korea||Traditionally, South Koreans
celebrate on three separate days, with women giving gifts Feb
14th, men on March 14th and the lonely, well, eating their
feelings in comfort on April 15th. Very similar to the custom in
Japan, see above.
However these days, the holiday is mostly celebrated the same as ion most western countries. Koreans also observe “Black Day” on April 14th when singles get together to eat jajangmyeon noodles, which are black. Some of them even dress in black as well.
A North Korean joke has it that to show their affection on February 14th by not turning in a loved one to the "Great Leader".
|February 14, March 14 and April 15th.||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Lebanon||Saint Valentine is the patron saint for a large part of the Lebanese population. As in other countries, gifts typically include chocolates boxes, Valentine's Cupcakes as well as red roses .||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Malaysia||Islamic officials in Malaysia warn Muslims against celebrating Valentine's Day, linking it with immorality. On Valentine's Day 2011, Malaysian religious authorities arrested more than 100 Muslim couples concerning the celebration ban.||Banned holiday|
|Pakistan||After coming into the country in
the late 1990s with special TV and radio programs,
Valentine's Day is becoming popular among urban youth with
gifts of flowers, especially red roses, but it does clash
with Islamic views especially in the city of Peshawar and
Kohat. And on February 13, 2017, the government of
Islamabad, Pakistan officially banned Valentine's Day, using
the police to confiscate red roses, balloons, etc. from
street vendors, saying it was a Western tradition and has no
place in a Muslim nation. It looks like diversity,
tolerance and inclusiveness is a Western tradition.
See the news stories on CBS, the Independent and CNN.
Westerners, take this as as a reminder to appreciate the rights you have and speak up to defend them
|Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Philippines||Valentine's Day is called Araw ng mga Puso is celebrated in much the same manner as in the West. It is also very popular to get married on Valentine's Day||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Portugal||"Dia dos Namorados" (Lover's Day / Day of the Enamoured).||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Romania||Romania has recently started celebrating Valentine's Day but it is opposed by several groups, like Noua Dreaptǎ, who see it as superficial, commercialist and tacky. So, Dragobete, a spring festival celebrated in parts of Southern Romania, has been rekindled as the traditional Romanian holiday for lovers on February 24..||February 14 and/or February 24th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Saudi Arabia||In 2002 and 2008, religious police banned the sale of all Valentine's Day items, which, of course, had the effec t of making the holiday even more popular, creating a black market for red roses. Legally, Muslims are not allowed to celebrate the holiday, and non-Muslims can celebrate only behind closed doors.||Feb 14th|
|Scotland||Valentine's Day is celebrated with a festival. At this festival, there is an equal number of unmarried males and females, each of whom write their name (or a made-up name) on a piece of paper which is then folded and placed into a hat...one hat for the ladies and one for the men. The females then draw a name from the hat containing the men's names and vice versa. Of course, it is highly likely that the two drawn names will not match, in which event, it is usually expected that the male partner with the female who selected his name. This rite having been completed, the company split up into couples and gifts are given to the ladies. The females would then pin the name of their partner over their hearts or on their sleeves. A dance often follows and, at the end of the festival, it is not unusual for marriages to take place. According to another Scottish custom, the first young man or woman encountered by chance on the street or elsewhere will become that individual's valentine. Valentine's Day gifts in Scotland are frequently given by both parties in the form of a love-token or true-love-knot.||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Spain||Valentine's Day is called "San Valentín" and celebrated in the American/British style.||Feb 14th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|South Africa||Women pin the names of their crushes on their sleeves, allowing men to learn of their secret admirers.||Feb 14th|
|Taiwan||Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14, but like on the mainland, there is also a special Valentine's Day on July 7||Feb 14th and July 7th||1 day||Y||Y||Y|
|Wales||The Welsh celebrate Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. The traditional romantic Welsh gift is a love spoon, an ornately carved wooden spoons .||January 25th.||1 day||Y||Y||Y|