The people of Morocco celebrate Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day 2021 - Customs: This is how it is celebrated worldwide

In Germany, lovers give each other flowers or chocolates on February 14th. In other countries there are partly different customs and traditions. This is how the world celebrates Valentine's Day.

There is a tradition in different countries of giving each other small gifts on this special day. For centuries, the day of love has meant paying attention to people you like. And that is done very differently internationally.

Customs since the Middle Ages: Beginning in England and France

It has not been clearly established whether Saint Valentine really is the originator of today's Valentine's Day customs. However, it is known that in England and France different traditions have developed around February 14th since the Middle Ages. In contrast to today, when couples in love give each other little gifts, Valentine's Day also served in earlier centuries to find a partner and initiate marriages.

In England and France, the idea was that a young woman would marry the man she first saw on Valentine's Day. Since admirers for this reason set out as early as possible in the day to bring flowers and gifts to the loved ones, this tradition continued to develop. In medieval England there was also the custom that every unmarried "Valentin" could choose his or her "Valentine" or was drawn by lots.

Good to know: This courtship was called the "bird wedding" in the 14th century. The men went out of their way to get the women's attention. They sang, wrote poetry or advertised in other playful ways.

The Valentine's Day Oracle and Other Traditions

The idea that young girls meet their future husbands on Valentine's Day also stems from earlier centuries. Depending on the region and country, different things were considered oracles. In some places, young women should dream of their future on the night before Valentine's Day if they had previously eaten hard-boiled eggs.

From Europe to America - and back

European emigrants brought the customs to America for Valentine's Day, where the tradition developed and consolidated. After the Second World War, American soldiers brought the customs they were familiar with back to Europe for Valentine's Day. This included flowers, small gifts, and Valentine's cards. These are still of great importance in the USA today. People who receive as many cards as possible on Valentine's Day are particularly popular.

The connection between the traditions of flowers and cards for Valentine's Day goes back to the English writer Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), who is said to have written a love letter to his wife for the first time on February 14, who responded with a bouquet of flowers.

Valentine's Day Worldwide: International Customs Today

Scandinavia: The countries in Northern Europe are very similar to us. In Finland, however, the day is celebrated as Friendship Day. People mostly anonymously send friendship and Valentine's Day cards to those they find likeable.

Japan: Women give chocolate to their husbands, colleagues and male friends on this day. One month later, on so-called "White Day", they will receive white chocolate as a present.

Hohenzollern Bridge: So-called love locks have been attached to the bridge for years. (Source: LIVINUS / Getty Images)

Italy: Here it is custom and superstition to hang small locks on bridge railings. As a sign of everlasting love. This custom can now be found more and more often on German bridges. The best known is probably the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne.

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