The Culture of St. Valentine

The Culture of St. Valentine

Take a trip across the gobe to discover how different cultures and countries celebrate the day of love!


Miners from the Australian gold rush period, when they had made enough money from the Ballarat Mines, were more willing to pay pricey sums for for elaborate Valentine's Day gifts. Of the most extravagent gifts were the silk and satin cushions, perfumed and decorated with flowers and colored shells. This gift not only symbolized wealth, but it also symbolized fashion

The United States

.The cultue of Valentine's Day has changed throughout the curse of America's history. During the Civil War, Valentine's Day cards were adorned with political motifs and rich colors. Early American cards were decorated with ornate lettering and distinctive designs. Some cards were even embellished with beads, sea shells, cones, berries, and all different seeds. Because American paper was weak, many of the traditional cards used to beimported from abroad.

Great Britain

Many great British poets have earned their fame through their writings associated with St. Valentine. Different regions of Great Britain have different traditions for celebrating the day, and can range anywhere from simple gifts to eleborate parties. There is one uniform tradition, however, and that is that many children sing songs and receive gifts of candy, fruit, or money. 


In Denmark, the traditional Valentine's Day card is called the "lover's card." The card used to be transparent, and one would have to hold it up to the light to see a lover handing his beloved a gift. Danish people send their loved ones pressed white flowers called Snowdrops to their friends. Danish men may also send a "gaekkebrev" or "joking letter" in which the sender signs it with only a dot for each letter in his name. If the lady guesses th ename of the sender correctlym then she gets an Easter egg later in the year.




In France, a custom known as "drawing for" used to occur in which a man and a woman would be paired up. If the man had not immediately fallen in love with the woman, than the woman and her friends would later burn pictures of him and call out verbal abuses to punish him for his "poor choice." This practice was quickly banned by the French government, and instead ornate cards with words of praise are given on the holiday.


Similar to men in orther parts of the world, German men traditionally give flowers to their sweethearts on February 14.The gifts are usually in the shape of love tokens, complete with thoughtful and sweet messages. Interestingly,  in early Germany, baptismal and marriage certificates were considered so sentimental and meaningful that many felt they were part of the Valentine's Day traditions.


In older years, Italy used to celebrate St. Valentine's Day as a Spring Festival that was held outside for young people to gather and listen to music. Often, these people would read and listen to poetry that confessed loves and heartbreaks alike. That tradition has since been lost to make room for new traditions. For instance, in Turin, couples announce their engagements on February 14th.


In Japan, Valentine's Day is celebrated on both February 14 and March 14, with the female giving a gift to the male on the first day and the male giving that gift back the female on the second. The second day is called "White Day" whch is rumored to have been started by a marshmallow company in the 1960s. Essentially, since the female gets back the gift she gave, she gets to pick out her own Valentine's Day gift. Chocolate is the most popular gift in Japan, but Japanese women prefer to make it in their own kitchens rather than buy it from a store.

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