Valentine’s Day conjures up all sorts of feelings that span the emotional spectrum, ranging from love and gratitude, to annoyance, to heartbreak. Whether you’re one who lives for the chocolates and flowers or one who thinks commercialism swallowed the holiday whole, I’ve gathered some fun facts, world traditions, and intriguing superstitions to give you a fresh look at this beloved holiday of love.
- 180 million cards are exchanged on Valentine’s Day.
- 85% of Valentine’s Day cards are bought by women.
- $116.21 is the average amount a person spends on Valentine’s Day.
- 53% of women would end their relationship if their partner doesn’t give them something for the holiday.
- Richard Cadbury invented the first Valentine’s Day candy box in the late 1800s.
- 73% of all Valentine’s Day flowers are purchased by men.
Valentine Traditions Around The World
- In Japan the traditional roles are flipped for Valentine’s Day: Women are the ones to shower their loved one with gifts, though the favor is usually returned a month later on March 14, also known as White Day, when the men spoil their beloved with gifts.
- Denmark fully embraces this romantic holiday with many youngsters even taking the day off of work to celebrate. People celebrate by exchanging what they call lover’s cards and write love poems known as ‘gaekkebrev’. The Danes will also send loved ones and friends white flowers called ‘snowdrops’ to show their love.
- Chile goes all out for Valentine’s Day festivities decorating their homes, streets, stalls, shopping complexes, and clubs in vibrant colors, lights, streamers, and balloons. Chileans exchange cards, chocolates, and gifts along with making special dishes including Pastel de Choclo, a sweetcorn dish filled with ground beef, chicken, raisins, black olives, and onions, and the most popular, Mote con Huesillo, a sweet non-alcoholic drink made with dried peaches.
- South Africa does it right. With celebrations and parties leading up to the day of love, everyone, both old and young, celebrate Valentine’s Day by going out on romantic dates, heading to the clubs, and even river rafting and visiting wildlife sanctuaries. South Africans also participate in the ancient Roman festival of ‘Lupercalia’ where young girls and women pin their lovers’ name on their sleeves for everyone to see.
Valentine’s Day Superstitions
- On Valentine’s Day, the first man’s name you read in the paper or hear on TV or radio will be the name of the man you will marry.
- Cut an apple in half on Valentine’s Day and the number of seeds inside will be the number of children you will have.
- If you see a squirrel on Valentine’s Day, you will marry a cheapskate who will hoard all your money. So.. you may want to avoid the woodsier areas.
- Pull out your bird book because if you see a goldfinch on February 14th you are destined to marry a millionaire but if you see a sparrow you’ll marry a poor man but be very happy.
- If you find a glove on the side of the road on this day of love, your future flame will have the other missing glove. (If this actually happens, you might have also stumbled into a Hollywood rom com.)
- Pucker up as to be awoken by a kiss on Valentine’s Day is considered good luck.
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