From pig-themed gifts to black bean noodles...how Valentines Day is celebrated around the world.

 

February is upon us.  Brrr…we’re shivering….! We’re located in Long Island, NY so for us February is often the coldest month of the winter. 

One bright and sunny spot in February, however, is the 14th, aka Valentine’s Day.  Although some consider it a “hallmark” holiday, we prefer to think positively of the day as one of both love and friendship.  February 14th doesn’t just have to be about romantic love but love in general.  There is love that comes from family and friends that is just as, if not more, important.  As usual, we were curious to explore the origins of the celebration of St. Valentine and whether it exists in other parts of the world.

And we can’t wait to tell you what we’ve learned!

Surprisingly, there is no one answer regarding the origins of Valentine’s Day.  Of course, there are a myriad of theories.

Even in 1853, the New York Times concluded it couldn’t really explain the connection between St. Valentine and the 14th of February and the associated symbols of love like hearts and cupid, etc. The Times recently posited some theories including a connection to the ancient festival of Lupercalia which was a “raucous, wine-fueled fertility rite in which Roman men and women paired off.”   Over time, as Rome became less pagan and more Christian, this festival became a celebration for St. Valentine . . . but there might not even be one specific St. Valentine that is honored. 

Picture   

The transmission of actual valentine messages didn’t start until the 1500s and official printed ones started appearing in the 1700’s.

And what is St. Valentine the patron saint of? The list is quite varied ranging from bees and epilepsy to the plague, fainting, traveling and of course… lovers!

Some countries celebrate in similar ways to us in the U.S. where others have a vastly different approach. As far as we’re concerned, it’s these cultural differences that make life interesting…… 🙂

Here are some of our favorite examples:

Czech Republic 

In the Czech Republic, couples visit a statue of the poet Karel Hynek Macha located in a cherry tree grove and kiss under the trees.

Germany 

Since the pig is the symbol of love and lust, in Germany they eschew the heart-shaped trinkets and instead exchange pig - themed gifts such as stuffed animals and statues.

Cupig Stuffed Animal, 7.5"

 

Phillipines

In the Philippines, the government hosts a huge national marriage ceremony!  No pressure at all to those in relationships…..

South Korea

Luckily, in South Korea there’s no pressure to marry and singles even get their own way to celebrate the day with a bowl of noodles in black bean sauce called jajangmyeon.  For the uncoupled, Feb 14th is actually called “black day.”

By 국립국어원, CC BY-SA 2.0 kr, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54784497

Italy

And, of course, the Italians really celebrate love and romance to the hilt. It's called "La Festa Degli Innamorati" and it’s in honor of the goddess Juno who represents women and marriage.  Tradition dictates that if a single woman sees a man on the 14th, he will become her husband.  In Verona, the home of Romeo & Juliet, Valentine's Day is a 4-day festival.  But what would Valentines Day in Italy be without the most romantic of all chocolates-Baci. Meaning 'kisses' in English, Baci were created in 1922 in Perugia, Italy by Luisa Spagnoli, a confectionary entrepreneur. The chocolate covered hazelnuts are wrapped in their iconic blue foil with love notes tucked inside.

Ingredients and wrapper of Baci Original Dark 


Older post

Leave a comment