You may have heard of Valentine’s Day as a special occasion to celebrate love and friendship. Whether it’s with your significant other or with friends, Valentine’s Day dates back to 496BC so humanity has had plenty of time to perfect this holiday. But how does the world celebrate Valentine’s Day?
In Mexico, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers! The day is actually known as “Día del Amor y la Amistad” or Day of Love and Friendship. Mexicans pride themselves in being excellent hosts (which if you are familiar with their culture, they have every right to claim this title!) Not only is their food fantastic but they make everyone that visits their country feel welcomed. If you’re studying abroad in Mexico during Día del Amor y la Amistad, it’s likely you’ll receive chocolates or flowers from your new friends or even a secret admirer!
Chocolate lovers: you must study abroad in Japan! Japanese have taken Valentine’s Day and turn it into a day where you must give chocolate and each chocolate has their own significance. Women in Japan do the giving. They give giri choco to their male friends and honmei choco to their significant other. Of course, if they want to treat themselves, they can buy jibun choco.
We can’t talk about Valentine’s Day and not include France. Paris is known as the “city of love” and naturally a very popular destination for Valentine’s Day. Tourists from around the world visit the Pont des Arts just to attach their own lock to the bridge railings. But Paris is not the only destination for lovers. You can visit St Valentin village and admire their 3-day Valentine’s Day festival too!
Prepare to see pigs, many of them! The pig is considered by Germans as a symbol of luck and lust. On Valentine’s Day, you will find several pig decorations and snacks. This day is usually celebrated by adults only as it’s considered a “mature” holiday. If you are studying abroad in Germany, don’t be surprised if your secret admirer sends you pig-shaped gingerbread cookies.
Similar to other countries, the US has learned to maximize profit for Valentine’s Day. Every retail store will turn red with heart-shaped decor midway through January and until Valentine’s Day. This holiday is celebrated by everyone, adults and kids alike. Children will bring goodies to share with their classmates on February 14th. Adults will send flowers or edible arrangements covered in chocolate to their significant others or go out for dinner. Even if you are single, this holiday can be celebrated with your friends which is referred to as “Galentine’s Day”.
As an international student, there are plenty of traditions you can be part of while studying abroad. This Valentine’s Day, invite a few of your new friends to dinner or take a risk and send chocolates to your crush! In the wise words of Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”.