Holidays to express love are shared around the world. (Used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-ND 2.0) – Sugar Daze/Flickr.com)
Valentines day is celebrated all through out the world with many different meanings.
Here in the United States, “Valentines day” is regularly celebrated with superficial mass-produced chocolate candies, cards, and flowers between lovers and friends. All around the world this holiday is celebrated in meaningful ways. In Brazil, the Dia dos Namorados (“Boyfriends’/Girlfriends’ Day”) is celebrated on June 12, similar to the US, couples exchange gifts, chocolates, cards and flower bouquets.
In South America the Amigo secreto (“Secret friend”) is quite popular and usually celebrated together on Feb. 14. Similar to the Christmas tradition of Secret Santa, the holiday consists of randomly assigning to each participant a recipient who is to be given an anonymous gift.
In China, the common situation is the man gives chocolate, flowers to the woman that he loves. Traditional Chinese Valentine’s day is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, commemorating a fabled day on which the cowherder and weaving maid are allowed to be together. According to china.org.cn, the Cowherd star and the Weaver Maid star are normally separated by the milky way, but are allowed to meet by crossing it on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar. Even though this holiday has differences throughout the world, they are all similar in ways of love and affection.
In Norfolk, England, a character called ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person. In Slovenia, a proverb says that “St Valentine brings the keys of roots,” so on Feb. 14, plants and flowers start to grow. Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as the day when the first work in the vineyards and in the fields commences. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on that day.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.
Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, and the oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum. The first commercial Valentine’s Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.”
From one sea to the next, no matter where someone is on this holiday, love can be felt all around the world.