Seven lesser-known ways to celebrate Valentine's Day

In some parts of the world, Valentine's Day means more than handing your partner a bouquet of flowers or serenading your partner with poetry – it involves some intense and rather bizarre practices of declaring your love, writes the dailymail.

February 14 is the day dedicated to love, archive photo

Bouquet of flowers…coded

Elizabeth White Nelson, associate professor of history at the University of Nevada and author of the book “Middle-Class Market Culture in Nineteenth-Century America”, tells how 19th century flower dictionaries gave meanings to each species.

“The idea was that you could give a bouquet that wasn't just a bouquet of flowers. It had a whole message encoded in the flowers. A bouquet of snowdrops represented hope, while a bouquet of yellow acacias represented hidden love, and receiving either it meant that the sender wanted to express secret feelings of adoration and hoped they would be reciprocated” – she explained.

Gifts inspired by pork and gingerbread in Germany

Valentine's Day, called Valentine's Day in German, it became established in Germany only after the end of the Second World War.

Since then, Germans have given this day a special touch, including giving gifts related to pigs or in the shape of this animal on February 14, as this animal symbolizes good luck in Germany. Also, on Valentine's Day, Germans give their loved ones large heart-shaped gingerbread cookies, known as gingerbread.

Puzzle bags or purses in England and USA

In the 18th and 19th centuries, when giving a sincere gift to loved ones on Valentine's Day, puzzle purses were in fashion.

A puzzle bag/purse is made entirely of paper, which is folded and contains parts of a message or lyrics written on different corners. Since the puzzle purse was intended to be read in a certain order, the folds were usually numbered so that the recipient knew how to move on to the next message. Unfolding one side revealed a writing section, and sometimes unfolding the entire puzzle led to a small gift waiting in the center.

In Japan, men get chocolate

In Japan, typical gender roles are reversed on Valentine's Day, with women traditionally offering chocolates to men. The origin of the practice stems from a chocolate manufacturer's suggestion in 1958 that women use chocolate on Valentine's Day to express their romantic feelings, reports.

Chocolate is offered in Japan, archive photo

Chocolate is offered in Japan, archive photo

Women offer different types of chocolates to express different feelings towards a person. Honmei choco, which means chocolate for true feelings, is given only to the partner; giri choco – or obligation chocolate – is given to male classmates or classmates, while tomo choco – friend's chocolate – is given to friends of either gender. Japanese women who follow gender-specific tradition have their own day to receive gifts from the men in their lives when White Day comes around on March 14.

Black Love Day in the United States of America

In African-American communities in the United States, Black Love Day is celebrated on February 13.

In 1993, Ayo Handy-Kendi, founder of the African American Holiday Association, was inspired to establish Black Love Day after seeing the assassination of Malcolm X depicted in the biographical film Malcolm X. She explained that she wanted a holiday that focused on “peace and cessation of violence” and relied on an alternate date, which did not “evolved from European culture”.

Traci Parker, associate professor of African American studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, says of Black Love Day: “It's very important to have a place where love can be celebrated, especially in a community where it has historically been attacked.” This holiday is not so much based on gift-giving as on five principles: “show love for the creator, show love for ourselves, show love for the black family, the black community and the race” – she said.

Mass Marriages in the Philippines

In the Philippines, it is common for Valentine's Day to have mass weddings all over the country. The ceremonies are part of an incentive offered by local governments, which use the day to help low-income couples hoping to get married.

On February 14, 2010, 1,500 couples were married in a mass ceremony in a suburb of Manila. Even during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, amid social distancing restrictions and albeit in small numbers, many couples got married in a mass wedding ceremony on Valentine's Day.

In the Philippines, mass marriages on February 14, archive photo

In the Philippines, mass marriages on February 14, archive photo

Celebrating friendship in Latin America

On February 14, Valentine's Day includes celebrating friends, not just lovers, in some parts of Latin America, including Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico. Known as El Día del Amor y Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship), this occasion marks and honors friendship. In El Salvador, people draw names and exchange gifts in a tradition known as Amigo Secreto (Secret Friend).

Starting from 1980, both Estonia and Finland started celebrating platonic love and friendship, along with romance, obviously, on February 14. Thus, on this date friends organize gift exchanges and restaurant dates with each other, rather than just romantic partners. In Estonia, Day

Naming a cockroach after a former partner

Sometimes a relationship doesn't work out, or maybe you've had a cheating spouse infidelity, which can make Valentine's Day difficult. For these situations, in some parts of the United States, some use Valentine's Day to reflect on those who scorned them by naming a cockroach after their partner.

For a small fee, several zoos offer cockroach baptism services. Each zoo offers some type of certificate to commemorate the christening and to send to the person who was honored with the cockroach.