It's that time of year again when some start to look to the next celebration day, which is Valentine's day. What you might not know is that Valentine's Day as a celebration day first developed in England in the 18th Century, although the association of that day with love goes back earlier than this, but is now celebrated all around the world, and each country has it's own traditions.
But what are the origins of this day? There is some mystery surrounding it, but it is believed to be based on both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.Stories range from a Roman priest, Valentine, defying Claudius to perform secret marriages for young lovers, to a Valentine helping Christians escape Roman prison.
Traditionally in the UK it is celebrated by giving flowers, chocolate, or other sentimental and heart shaped gifts too to convey love.
We thought it would be fun to see how other countries celebrate Valentine's Day and here's our top 5 picks:
1. South Africa
Women traditionally pin the name of their sweetheart on their sleeve, which comes from the Roman festival of Lupercalia. The gifting of flowers and cards is also popular.
Valentine's Day was introduced in 1936 and has also tradtionally been celebrated by chocolate giving with the emphasis on women giving chocolates to men. 'Giri Choco' (obligation chocoloate) is given to friends and co-workers, and Honmei-Choco is given to a boyfriend or husband. One month later on 'White Day' on 14th March men who have received Valentine's Day gifts return a gift to the gifter, and the chocolate is usually White.
The Jewish holiday Tu B'Av, which goes back centuries, has in modern times become a romantic holiday similar to Valentine's Day, celebrated with giving flowers, singing and dancing and seen as a great day for proposing, weddings, vow renewals.
The Finish Valentine's Day, 'Ystävänpäivä' is not romantic, and was only recognized as a special day in 1987. The focus is on friendship with small non-heart shaped gifts exchanged with friends. Apparently the Finns are quite reserved in this respect, no showy displays of love!
Commonly known as 'El Día del Amor y la Amistad' (the day of love and friendship), this day is for lovers and friends, celebrated through the giving of flowers, sweets, cards, balloons to show appreciation of those loved ones.
Wherever you are Valentine's Day is a great day to let those who are special to you in your life, whether it be a partner, family or friends, know that you value them and care about them. It's easy to go about our everyday busy lives and forget to say the little things which mean so much, like 'thank you', and 'I love you'. Valentine's Day gives us a little nudge if we've been a bit lax in showing our appreciation and love.
If you are stuck for a unique Valentine's Gift visit the Valentine's Day Collection for some great ideas.