Love is celebrated differently in different cultures around the globe. Those of us from North America have Valentine’s Day, White Day is celebrated in Asia, and Lover’s Day in Brazil.
Here are just a few of the other romantic holidays that are celebrated in different countries throughout the year!
Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St. Dwynwen’s Day)
This day of love honors the Welsh patron saint of lovers, St. Dwynwen. As the legend goes, she was a fourth century Welsh princess who became a nun after suffering a broken heart. She then spent the rest of her days praying that true lovers would find the blissful happiness that she couldn’t.
Couples celebrate by exchanging gifts and planning dates filled with romance.
Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, China
White Day started in the 1980s and is celebrated exactly one month after Valentine’s Day. On this day, men give women gifts that are usually (you guessed it) white. White chocolate, flowers, candy, marshmallows, cookies, jewelry, or lingerie are all gift options.
In these countries it is tradition for women to give men gifts on Valentine’s Day, and the expectation is that on White Day men will reciprocate with a gift that is two, or even three, times more expensive.
La Diada de Sant Jordi (St Jordi’s Day)
Also known as the Festival of St George (the patron saint of Catalonia), this is the ultimate day for lovers in Barcelona. The legend says that Saint George killed a dragon to save his princess, and then gave her a beautiful red rose that magically sprouted where the dragon’s blood had been spilled.
On this romantic day, the streets of Barcelona become filled with fragrant flowers and booksellers, as it is tradition for men give their ladies a red rose, and ladies to give their men a book.
Dia dos Namorados (Lover’s Day)
Lover’s Day falls on the eve of St. Anthony’s Day — the saint associated with young love and happy marriages. Celebrations tend to be similar to Valentine’s Day with gifts of chocolate or flowers being exchanged, and romantic dinners planned.
(Fun Fact: Brazilians don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because it falls too close to Carnival.)
The celebrations usually expand to the streets with parades, carnivals, samba dancing, and more community fun.
15th day of the Hebrew month of Av
This holiday, celebrated during the Hebrew month of Av (which covers days in both July and August), has only recently become a romantic holiday in the Jewish tradition. It was historically a matchmaking day for unmarried women who would dress all in white and dance in the fields outside of Jerusalem, while male suitors would watch and pick a wife from among them.
Today, the holiday is marked with the exchange of cards and flowers, and is also considered to be an ideal day for proposals, weddings, or vow renewals.
Dia de Amor y Amistad (Love and Friendship Day)
This day is less about romantic love and more about celebrating the love between close friends. It was established in 1969 as a way to help boost Colombia’s economy, as there were no national holidays in the month of September.
Friends usually gather together for dinner and a game of “secret friend” — similar to “secret Santa” — which involves drawing names and buying gifts to exchange without your friend knowing it was from you.