By: Skyler McKee Foerster, Nia Mitchell and Kara Brown
Here in the United States, many people celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th in very generic ways, by spending a lot of money on store-bought cards, chocolate, and teddy bears holding stuffed velvet hearts, and it’s a lot of money. According to the National Retail Federation, most people spent an average of $162 on store-bought Valentine’s Day gifts. However, in other countries across the world, people celebrate this romantic holiday in other forms that are truly unique.
For example, “Lovespoons” are a popular traditional gift in Wales, a country that borders England. These are hand made wooden spoons traditionally made by men, given as gifts on January 25 (The Welsh celebrate “St. Dwynwen’s Day” instead of Valentine’s Day, but the holidays are practically interchangeable, according to Historic UK.com). Lovespoons are believed to have originated at sea, where sailors spent their free time carving pieces of whalebone or driftwood as gifts for their spouse. According to BBC, the spoons are intricately carved with symbols, such as “keys (symbolizing the key to the man’s heart) [or] wheels (I’ll work hard for you).”
Another interesting tradition for Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the Philippines. Some cities kick off the “love month” with mass weddings where many of the couples say “I do” at the same time. According to Pacific Daily News, the country typically sponsors over 2,000 free weddings every Valentine’s Day, to which thousands attend.
Japan also celebrates Valentine’s Day in their own unique way: with chocolates! Did you know that in Japan there are different types of chocolate you give to your friends, family, or spouses?, According to Kobe Jones.com, “Giri-choco” is a type of chocolate you usually give as an obligation gift or debt for your boss, work colleagues, or sometimes just other men in general. There’s also “Honmei-choco,” which translates to “true feelings chocolate,” is usually gifted for you boyfriends, husband or lover.