Lovehearts, chocolates, little presents and… love is in the air! All these today have a special meaning, as it’s Saint Valentine’s day! Although it seems strange, this day has not the same meaning and way of celebration among different civilizations around the planet. Below you can see the most bizarre customs related to Saint Valentine!!!
Many people use to bake cookies with plums and raisins. Unmarried women place for four days laurel leafs under their pillow and wait for dreaming their future husband, or they write their name in a paper, they put it in a bottle and they throw it into the sea. The one who finds it will marry them.
In Japan the chocolate custom occurs! Saint Valentines day is celebrated in two days. On 14 February women give their presents to men, while the opposite happens on 14 March “White Day”. Perhaps it is the only place in the world where in Saint Valentine’s day it’s not men the ones who offer gifts, but… women(!). Japanese young ladies have to offer their male milieu chocolates whose flavor differs according to the person. There is a different flavor for their boss and their colleagues, different for friends and different to their darling.
Unmarried men enter houses from the windows and walk out with the match they have chosen. If their “valentine” does not satisfy them, they abandon her and she is led to a ceremonial stake, where women burn the photos of their ex-partners hurling curses. This costume has obtained a form of parody nowadays.
A popular custom among women is waking up before sunrise and waiting by the window. It is believed that the first man a woman sees, he will be her future husband. A popular present in Italy is Baci Perugina, a small chocolate with hazels, which contains a small romantic poem in four languages.
China has, also, dedicated a day for the celebration of love, but it is quite different from the rest of the countries. Saint Valentine’s day occurs on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar. So, the celebration is called “The night of the 7” (Qi Xi).
There is a very interesting myth about this celebration in China: Once upon a time there was an orphan boy, Niu Lang. The only thing he had in his possession was an ox, so he was working all day in the fields. It is said that the ox was once an immortal, who had been sent from Heaven to Earth as a punishment for multiple mistakes. The ox was very fond of the boy and one day he told him: “You are a good person. If you want to get married go to the river and your wish will become true.” When the boy went to the river, he saw the 7 daughters of the Emperor, who had come from Heaven to bathe. As he was captured by the beauty of the youngest daughter, Zhi Nu, he stole her magic clothes, without them she couldn’t return to heaven. He told her that he would give them back to her only if she married him, which happened. They lived happily for many years and had two children. But the Emperor started to desire his daughter and he sent his wife to bring her back, which she managed. Then the shepherd rode the ox and he ran up to the sky to find his love, holding his two children. Her mother, in order to keep them separated, she placed a Galaxy between them, turning them into faraway stars. Nowadays the daughter is the Weaving Maid Star and the boy is the Cowherd Star. They are allowed to see each other only once a year, when the ivies make a big bridge which unites the two stars. It’s the 7th day of the 7th lunar month.
In China, there is a particular feast which called The Feast of the Daughter. All girls learn some handicraft, such as weave. After that,when the star shines up to the sky, they put a needle in the sea surface. If it won’t sink, it means that they are mature and chosen for marriage and they can ask whomever they want. In some provinces people decorate the ox’s horn with flowers in that day, hoping that this will save them from any disaster.
The “valentines’ cards” is the most popular and romantic custom in Denmark. In the beginning, these cards had a transparent form and when the light fell on them, a lover giving a present to his darling appeared.
Nowadays, the cards exist in various forms and the musical ones are usually preferred. The custom of the “White Flower” is celebrated with lots of love and care.
Millions of “snowdrops” are sent to friends and relatives. The Gaekkebrev tradition has become known worldwide. Young men write funny letters and poems, known as “gaekkebrev”. In the end of the letter there isn’t a name, the young man signs with a dot instead. Then, the girl who receives the card has to guess the sender. If she speaks the right name she is granted an “Easter Egg” in that year.
An important custom is the search for a “match”. According to this, the first young man a girl meets in her way, will be her date for the rest of the day. Alternatively, in a party men have to choose a paper from a hat, where all the names of the women being there are gathered.
Anyway, this day has fanatic fans, but fanatic enemies as well!
Regardless of the category you belong to, have a great time with your partner or with friends or by yourself, doing things which make your daily life more beautiful and fill you with appetite and desire for life! Like everyday…