Valentine’s Day traditions around the world

Charli Mattes - Staff Writer, Nadia Grauman - Creative Director

Love quickly fills the city of Paris on Valentine’s Day. The Valentine’s Day card first originated in France when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while he was imprisoned in the London Tower in 1415. Valentine’s Day cards still stay relevant even today. After all, if the Duke of Orleans could share his love from prison, then no one should be exempt from this love phenomenon. Another tradition is a drawing of love, also known as “loterie d’amour.” Centuries ago, men and women would rush to houses that face each other while taking turns calling out to one another to become paired. The women that were left unmatched gathered together for a bonfire. During the bonfire, women burned pictures of men and cursed undeniably at the opposite sex. Although Paris is known for love, this revenge act became so cruel that the government eventually banned it.

In Denmark, the holiday of love only began in 1990. The country quickly embraced the holiday, but they added their own twist. On Valentine’s Day, instead of exchanging roses, lovebirds exchange pressed white flowers called “snowdrops.” Another popular tradition is for the men to give the women “gaekkebrev,” a joking letter that usually consists of a funny poem signed with anonymous dots. If the women correctly guesses who the sender of her letter is, she earns herself an Easter Egg from the same gentleman later in the year on Easter.

Starting in February, South Korea extends it’s celebration all the way through April. The holiday begins on February 14 where the women give gifts to men, typically fancy chocolates. March 14 is known as “White Day,” where men shower the women with chocolates and flowers, then they up the anti with a special gift. Lastly, April 14 is known as “Black Day,” reserved for the singles. The lonely individuals mourn their relationship status by eating dark bowls of black-bean paste noodles.