Valentine’s Day traditions around the world

Love, romance, sweetness and passion; it looks like they all come to life on Valentine’s Day. Many boxes of chocolates, flowers, and champagne bottles are bought and lots of Zoobe messages are delivered. Most people celebrate love on 14th of February, but did you know that some countries have other traditions, dates and stories of their lovers’ day?

Smurfette, Romantic Pets, Pinky the Present, Bunny Love Jump and the Love Pack are just a few of the Zoobe characters that are being used to create amazing messages for Valentine’s Day. But we noticed that in different places of the world, these love messages increase in other months of the year. That’s because in some countries, Valentine’s Day is not seen as an official holiday and instead, they have their own day to celebrate love.

These holidays have different names and stories all over the world.  For example, the region of Catalonia in Spain celebrates La Diada de Sant Jordi on April 23, Romania has Dragobete on 24th of February and Japan has 2 different holidays one month apart.

But let’s see what are the most interesting traditions and stories of the day when we celebrate love all over the world:

1. China


The Chinese so called Valentine's Day" is the Qixi Festival, which is not celebrated in February but on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. At this time, men give chocolate or/and flowers to the woman they love.

The legend says that a fairy called Zhinu and a human (Niulang) fell in love and got married. Once the Goddess of Heaven found out, she became so furious that she created the Milky Way just to separate them. Still, they are allowed to meet once a year - on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar. This is one of the many versions of the story. 

At night, people gave at the sky and watch stars Vega and Altair (representing Zhinu and Niulang) for their annual reunion.


2. Japan

In Japan, on Valentine’s Day, only the women are the ones offering chocolates, not only as a love gesture but also as an obligation to their male friends, colleagues and bosses. These gifts are split between "giri choco" (obligation chocolate) and "honmei choco" (true love chocolate). And it’s not about the right gift, but it’s more about the right amount of chocolate that is given. Also, it matters if the chocolate is handmade or bought. 

Although, in the recent decades, there has been observed a “reply day” one month later, on 14th of March, when men are expected to return the favor. This holiday is called White Day, merely because of the white chocolate that is expected to be offered, but also because white is the color of purity.

Moreover, the men’s gifts are expected to be at least 2-3 times more valuable than what they have received on Valentine's Day. However, some people say that if men decide not to return the gift, this is perceived as the man being seen in a position of superiority. Also, returning a present of the same value is considered as a way to say that they are ending the relationship.

Initially, only chocolate was given, but nowadays gifts such as jewelry, accessories, and clothing are also considered appropriate. 


3. Germany

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Contrary to popular opinion, Germans are romantic and love to offer gifts on Valentine’s Day. Lovers will exchange the usual flowers and chocolates, but also something that you might find interesting: pigs!

Offering a pig shaped candy or chocolate represents luck and lust. These days, the palette of gifts extended to pig themed pictures and cards, small statues or new and interesting ways of showing your love. Also, Germans are big fans of ginger bread in heart shapes saying “Ich liebe dich” (I love you). Maybe that’s why they love using the Romantic Piggy character for their Zoobe messages.


4. Spain

Recently, people in Spain started celebrating Valentine’s Day on 14th of February too, but in Barcelona and the whole Catalonia, couples usually declare their love on April 23, when they celebrate St. George’s Day or La Diada de Sant Jordi – Catalonia’s national day, but also known as El Dia de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose) or El Dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book).

On this occasion, lovers exchange gifts (usually roses and books) and they say “A rose for love and a book forever”.

The legend of Saint George says that Saint Jordi slew a dragon to save a princess. On the exact spot where the dragon's blood had spilled, a rose bush miraculous grew. The prince picked a red rose and gave it to the young princess.

Very appropriate for this day is the Zoobe Romantic pets pack, when you can send a virtual bouquet of flowers on the spot. :)


5. Brazil

Brazilians are not too keen on celebrating Valentine’s Day on 14th of February, especially when it’s so close to the Brazilian Carnival. Instead, they celebrate the day of love, called Dia dos Namorados ("Day of Lovers") on June 12.

On this day, lovers exchange romantic gifts, not only limited to chocolates and flowers but usually they plan a date too. In addition to these, music festivals (including samba and folk music) and performances are organized and people also decorate their homes and the streets.


6. France

France is seen as a romantic country, where most couples want to spend their Valentine’s Day.

In France, this day has a strong association with the country. It is said that during the Middle Ages, there was a popular belief in France and England that birds began to mate in the middle of the second month of the year – 14th of February to be more precisely. Thus, lovers saw this day special and exchanged love letters and tokens of love on Valentine's Day. This tradition persists nowadays too, when lovers offer letters, cards and probably Zoobe messages.

Ironically, a while ago, Valentine’s Day was not associated with romance at all. People in France once had a Valentine's Day custom of “une loterie d'amour” (drawing for) where unmarried people would go into houses facing each other, calling out across from the windows and pair off with their chosen partner. However, if the man was not particularly happy with his Valentine, he could just leave her. At the end of the day, a bonfire was lit where ladies could burn images of the lovers who left them. Later, the state banned this practice.


7. Romania

Even though in the last years Romanians started celebrating Valentine’s Day, this is not seen as an official holiday. The lovers’ day is known as Dragobete and it is celebrated on 24th of February, just 10 days after the Valentine’s Day.

The legend says that Dragobete is the name of a handsome young man, the son of Baba Dochia (another mythical Romanian character) who protected love and the ones who love. This day was chosen as the birthday of Dragobete.

A while ago, the tradition was that unmarried young people were going in the forest in search of flowers and when they came back, girls kissed the guy they liked in front of everybody, as a symbol of engagement for at least one year. 

So, you see, no matter the date, we all like to celebrate love and offer special gifts to the ones we love. Additionally to your physical present, we are sure your loved one will appreciate the self-made Zoobe message. Choose your characters and put it at work for you. Just like this one:

If you are not sure what character your loved one would like, stay tuned because next week we’ll tell you more about the best suited characters to use for your perfect Valentine’s Day message.