February 14 Around The Globe

By Denis Qeska and Rory Kates

What comes to mind when you think about the fourteenth day of February – Valentine’s Day? Many might envision flowers the colour of rubies, a card expressing admiration, gestures expressing adoration, or even a winged child letting heart-tipped arrows fly from their bow. However, just like this varies between individuals, how the day is celebrated varies between cultures. Here are just some of the unique ways that it is celebrated around the world:

Danish tradition includes the sending of rhyming “joke letters” to one’s beloved, but here is the twist, instead of signing their name, the sender would place a dot for each letter of their name. If the receiver correctly guesses who sent it, then they are rewarded with an Easter egg on Easter. Their practices also include friends to whom they send pressed snowdrops at this time.


South Africa:
Here women would typically pin the names of who they fancy on their sleeves, something dating back to ancient Rome.

On this occasion, a new practice has emerged: mass wedding ceremonies. Groups of hundreds of couples at a time tie the knot. One such event reportedly included some 350 couples.


One traditional French custom includes a “love lottery” of sorts. Men and women would stay at separate nearby locations and call out to each other their matches.

In summary, while there are various ways of celebrating this day, the same principles of affection remain constant.