Valentine Traditions of the World


It’s Festive Friday and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so on this Festive Friday we are taking a look at Valentine’s Day traditions from all over the world! Please join me on this romantic jaunt around the globe!

South Korea
My husband whisked me away to Seoul last year for Valentine’s weekend, so I looked up how the South Koreans celebrate. Much to my husband’s delight, I found that Valentine’s Day is all about the MEN! Ladies shower their men with chocolates on February 14, then the men reciprocate to their ladies on March 14, which is White Day! Single? No worries! April 14 is Black Day, which is set aside for the single crowd to eat black noodles at Chinese restaurants and commiserate!

Lovers warming up inside after a tour of the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul!

An old custom in Italy is for unmarried women to look out their windows before sunrise on Valentine’s Day morning. The first man they see pass by will be their husband within a year! If not him, then someone who looks like him. I grew up on a farm with no neighbors, just cows, goats, and chickens–glad that wasn’t the custom for us!

I might have ended up with this cutie!

Paris may be known as a lovers’ paradise, but one (now banned) Valentine’s tradition was less than romantic. Men used to call out to women and pair themselves up. If a man decided he didn’t like the woman he ended up with, he could drop her and take up with someone else. Those scorned women would then get together and start a big bonfire to burn images of those and other men who had insulted them in the past! I’m sure there was some chocolate involved, too.

Fire courtesy of my parents’ outdoor fireplace; the ones in France were probably even larger!

Better count your roses in Taiwan! One rose for Valentine’s Day is romantic, of course. Give 99 roses and you’ll let your special girl know you’ll love her forever. But just nine more roses, at 108, will be considered a proposal of marriage!

97, 98, 99, 100, 101…

Speaking of flowers, roses may be a universal flower of romance, but if you’re in Peru you can expect orchids! Peruvian Carnival celebrations fall in February as well, so there are always lots of Peruvian flavors in the air as well as the scent of orchids!

Purple orchid

Find yourself single this Valentine’s Day? Find a Finnish friend! Valentine’s Day is not so much about lovers as it is about friends. The direct translation for the day in Finland is “Friendship Day.” No big gifts or romantic gestures, just small tokens of friendship to your friends. Here I am with my friend Andrea!

We’re not in Finland here, but it’s on our list!

What are your favorite Valentine’s traditions? Mine are definitely chocolate and the gift of travel with my Love!


2 responses to “Valentine Traditions of the World”

  1. I love this!! Although I’m not sure I would’ve liked being Italian… too much up to chance with that one!

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