How do people celebrate the most romantic day of the year?
- February 12, 2018
- Posted by: polyglot polyglot
- Category: Uncategorized
Each year on February 14th, many people all over the world exchange cards, candies, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” On the eve of the “Day of Love” people buy presents and organize some romantic surprises for their soulmates. The shop windows and cafes are full of hearts, roses, images, statues of cupids and other red or pink decoration. In general, the romantic spirit is in the air. But not all countries have the same traditions for celebration of the Valentine’s Day. Let’s consider the main customs of different nations.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated with gaiety, enthusiasm and charm in England. Just as in many other countries, people in England express love for their beloved on this day by presenting them flowers, cards, chocolates and other special gifts. Different regions of the country have their specific traditions to celebrate Valentine’s Day but one uniform custom is the singing of special songs by children. These children are rewarded with gifts of candy, fruit or money. Customs associated with Valentine’s Day have their origin in the popular belief held by people in England. Unmarried girls used to wake up before sunrise on Valentine’s Day. They believed that the first man they see on Valentine’s Day or someone who looks like him would marry them within a year. Girls, therefore, used to wake up early to stand by their window and wait for the man to pass. Another popular belief held by English people made women pin four bay leaves to the corners of their pillow (bay leaves brought dreams about the future husband). Unmarried ladies also used to write men’s names on paper and put them on clay balls that they would drop into the water. It was believed that whichever paper came up first, that man would be their future husband.
The celebration for Valentine’s Day in Germany is popular among the locals, but is not especially commercial as in other parts of the world. Lovers exchange not only chocolates, flowers and heart shaped gifts, but a special something else for this celebration: a pig! The pig represents luck and lust, and can be given in picture form, as a miniature statue, in chocolate or however one sees fit. Also, Germans prepare big ginger cookies in heart shapes which contain romantic phrases and messages like “Ich liebe dich” (I love you).
With a reputation as one of the most romantic destinations in the world, France has long celebrated Valentine’s Day as a day for lovers. The French invented a particular Valentine’s Day custom called ‘drawing for’. Unmarried people gathered in houses facing each other and called the name of their chosen partner through the windows. It all seemed very romantic, but the charm was spoilt when one man decided to desert his Valentine. Naturally, the women retaliated and the custom developed of building a huge bonfire where they burnt the image of the now hated male while yelling abuse at him, his family, his manhood and anything they could think of. It became a rather embarrassing and heated event, so was wisely banned by the French Government. Nowadays French lovers exchange different gifts and greeting cards known as cartes d’amities.
In China the equivalent of Valentine’s Day is the “Qixi Festival,” which means “The Night of Seven,” and is celebrated usually in early August, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. This tradition recalls an old ancestral story that has been passed from generation to generation for centuries. This love tragedy tale tells the story of two stars in the Milky Way, one of them a fairy named Zhinu who married a mortal young man named Niulang. They fell in love at first sight, and when they got married the Goddess of Heaven became so furious that she created the Milky Way just to separate them. During Qixi Chinese girls pray to find good husbands, and offer fruits and carve melons for Zhinu, the ancient goddess of love and relationships, to hear their intentions.
Originally, Italians celebrate Valentine’s Day as the Spring Festival. On Valentine’s day couples get together to enjoy music, poetry and exchange gifts like the “baci perugina,” a box of small hazelnut-filled chocolate “kisses” (baci means “kiss” in Italian). This box is accompanied with a romantic quote printed in four languages. Also, according to old tradition, the first man a girl sees that day will become her husband and they would be married within a year.