International Valentines: Love without borders

Graphic by Cole Estes/ The Jibsheet
Graphic by Cole Estes/ The Jibsheet

We all know how Valentine’s Day is celebrated here in the U.S. but we hardly ever learn about how other countries celebrate this romantic day. Believe me, you may think that every country celebrates Valentine’s Day the same way as we do, but you might be surprise to find out about other traditions that you know you will like to make your own.

In some parts of the world, such as in Japan and South Africa, Valentine’s Day has been a cherished tradition for many years. Other countries, such as Brazil and China, like to celebrate this holiday on different days from the rest of the world.

Japan and South Africa

On February 14, Japanese women purchase chocolate for their close male friends, and they rather make their own chocolate for their romantic interest. Women believe that a gift from the heart shows more love and appreciation for a loved one, leading to better relationships. Men on the other hand do not give anything to women on this date, instead they wait for the traditional White Day on March 14 (notice a month after Valentine’s Day) to show their love and appreciation for the woman of their lives.

Japan’s traditional Valentine’s Day might sound romantic but South Africa’s Lupercalia is not only interesting, but courageous as well. February 14 in South Africa is the day in which girls pin the name of their love interest on their sleeves for everyone to see, that is right, the guy will eventually find out a girl is head over heels for him. Not only is this nerve-wracking, but a girl can never be certain if someone else finds her loved one attractive as well.  Perhaps a romantic day will not end in such a positive note, but it never hurts to fight for what you love.

Brazil and China

Brazil on the other hand, does not celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14; rather they celebrate Dia dos Namorados on June 12 the day that celebrates St. Anthony of Padua who brings good fortune on marriages. Lavish parties are thrown to celebrate this romantic day, and just like any other Brazilian holyday, beautiful festivals and customs are found in every street during this day.

Chinese Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese calendar. During this day, lovers go to the temple of Matchmaker and pray for their love, happiness, and possible marriage. Those who are single pray to find love, or they simply attend a festival to distract themselves from their despair.

About Ana Palma-Gutierrez 29 Articles
My name is Ana Palma-Gutierrez, and I am from Mexico City. I first moved to the U.S. when I was seven years old, and the transition into my new life was a very challenging experience for me. I had to learn English in order for me to survive in my new home, and in addition, I had to leave all my friends and family behind in order for me to find a better life. Almost thirteen years have passed by since I first moved to the U.S. and I am very proud of being a Staff Writer and Copy Editor for The Jibsheet. Currently, I am the only Mexican/Hispanic Staff Writer and Copy Editor on staff, and I am very proud of myself for this accomplishment. I want to thank my Editor in Chief (Riley Hartwell,) as well as the rest of my editors for giving me the opportunity of writing and editing for The Jibsheet. I look forward to completing my Arts and Science Degree here at Bellevue College, and transferring onto a four-year college, where I hope to Major in Political Science and Minor in Journalism.