This is how countries around the world celebrate Valentine's Day

Language and culture experts from Busuu have revealed what other countries around the world do to mark the annual celebration..

By Chris Page
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 10:07 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 10:53 am
How Valentine's Day is celebrated around the world
How Valentine's Day is celebrated around the world

Countries like Japan and France have adapted Valentine’s Day and put their own twist on it by making friends just as much of a priority as significant others.

Similarly in Germany, couples give one another German biscuits with sweet messages on as a token of their love.

A spokesperson for Busuu said: “Like a lot of other western traditions, Valentine’s Day has made its way across the globe.

“Some places have adopted the romantic day and it’s become increasingly popular because of the commercial opportunities for businesses.

“But it’s interesting to see that some countries like Japan have taken a different spin on it,. In Japan, Valentine’s Day is actually all about the ladies declaring their love by giving chocolate. This then led to the creation of White Day on March 14, which was a chance for men to return the favour.”

How Valentine’s is celebrated around the world:

Spain

Many people might be surprised to hear that Valentine’s Day isn’t actually a massive thing in Spain. Similar to Halloween, Valentine’s Day is becoming popular for commercial reasons. Shops will be decorated with hearts and flowers, and restaurants and bars will create special menus. But other than that, some Spanish locals might find Valentine’s Day a bit cheesy!

Couples who do choose to celebrate it will often give each other jewellery or chocolates. Cards aren't traditionally given.

Though, fun fact: it is believed that the bones of Saint Valentine are located in Madrid.

France

France is home to the city of love, Paris.

Though not embraced by all, Valentine’s Day has grown more in France over the years . There is a lot for single people to do on Valentine’s in France, with single friends getting together and bars and restaurants even hosting special events for singletons.

Couples who do choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day will often go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant – and when it comes to gifts, gifting lingerie is huge in France.

Germany

It is believed that Valentine’s Day was first introduced to Germans in the 1940s, when American soldiers were stationed there after the Second World War and the first German Valentine’s ball was held in the 1950s.

Although it took a while to catch on, nowadays Germans still tend to celebrate on 14th February, despite the day still not being huge.

Couples often give one another Lebkuchen (a German biscuit) in heart shapes with romantic messages on them, as well as other traditional things like going for dinner and giving flowers.

Japan

Japan have their own interesting take on Valentine’s Day. In this country, 14th February is a chance for women to declare their love with chocolate. Men can have their turn on 14tth March, which is known as White Day. Those who receive chocolate are expected to return the favour with gifts that traditionally used to be white, like marshmallows or white chocolate – but nowadays, they can be anything!

The day has also been extended out to friendships, which led to the invention of tomochoko – essentially meaning chocolate given to a friend.

China

Like many other western traditions, Valentine’s Day has become increasingly popular over the years in China, particularly amongst young people.

Traditionally, China’s day for couples is actually the Qixi Festival (Double Seventh Festival). The date is based on China’s lunar calendar and couples use it to celebrate it in the same way we celebrate Valentine’s Day – they give gifts and go for romantic meals.