7 Unique Valentine's Day Traditions
1Slovenia- where it is the day to resume work in the fields
2Japan- where women give chocolates to men
One month later on White Day (March 14), men are expected to return gifts that are at least two or three times more valuable than the gifts received on Valentine's Day. The term sanbai gaeshi (literally, "thrice the return") is used to describe this rule. Not returning the gift is perceived as the man placing himself in a position of superiority, even if excuses are given. Returning a present of equal value is considered as a way to say that you are ending the relationship. Originally only chocolates were given, but now jewelry, accessories, clothing and lingerie are common White Day gifts.
3Wales- where St. Dwywen is the lovers' saint and the spoon is a symbol of love
The legend states that Dwynwen fell in love with a young prince named Maeron. Maeron reciprocated her feelings but for an undetermined reason, they could not be together. Three hypotheses are that a) Maeron raped Dwynwen despite her wish to remain celibate until after marriage, b) her father forbade the marriage, or c) her father had already promised her to someone else. Dwynwen, distraught by her love for Maeron, prays to fall out of love with him. An angel answers her prayers by bringing her a potion that erases her love for Maeron and turns him to ice.
God then grants Dwynwen three requests. First, she asks God to free Maeron from his icy tomb. Then, she asks him to make her the Patron Saint of Lovers, and to let her remain unmarried for the rest of her life. When God grants these requests, Dwynwen dedicates herself to the church and founds the above-mentioned convent on Llanddwyn Island.
Traditionally, St. Dwynwen's Day is celebrated by giving and receiving lovespoons. The Welsh lovespoon dates back to the 17th century when young men would carve them from a single piece of wood, decorate the handle with romantic symbols and then give them to the lady who had caught their eye. The earliest surviving example, dating from around 1667, is on display at the Welsh Folk Museum in St. Fagans, Cardiff. That shows they last a lot longer than the traditional Valentine's Day rose!
4Great Britain- where there are odd superstitions
5South Korea- where people "mourn" being single
6Finland- where they celebrate friendship instead of love
7China- where people visit the Temple of the Matchmaker to ask for love
This traditional Chinese festival based on a romantic love story started more than 2,000 years ago. Like all folk tales, there are many variations of the Qixi Festival legend, but the basic story is usually the same: a Chinese couple, Niulang (cow herder) and Zhinv (fairy weaver girl) were separated by the goddess of Heaven, who was angry that a fairy would want to marry a mortal. They could only meet once a year on a bridge formed by magpies, who took pity on the separated couple.
To celebrate this day, lovers visit the Temple of the Matchmaker and pray for love, happiness, and marriage. Singles also visit the temple to ask for luck in love. On this night, unmarried girls pray to Vega, the Weaving Maid star. It is also traditional for young girls to carve melons on this day.
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