Flowers, chocolate and cards are what is associated with Valentine’s Day here in the United States. However, in different parts of the world, the same cannot be said.
“Years and years of bombing people all around the world with all types of advertising when it comes to Valentine’s Day, has resulted in this date becoming one of the best known holidays all around the world,” said Ivana Kovacev, a foreign exchange student from Serbia.
The commercialization of Valentine’s day in America has reached levels unlike other countries around the world. According to a report by CNN.com, by Feb. 14 over 18 billion dollars will be spent on the holiday from U.S. citizens.
“The U.S. probably has the most people celebrating Valentines, but small countries like Serbia, also have people that will believe that this day is supposed to be celebrated with your partner,” Kovacev said.
Saint Valentine is the Catholic patron saint of love, and was a priest in Rome around the year 270.
Though commonly, Valentine’s Day isn’t about the saint anymore, it has become a commercialized holiday in many countries. Before Christianity was introduced, the Romans celebrated a feast for Lupercalia, which was a spring festival. When Christianity came around, the celebration moved from the 15 of February, to the 14, to honor several martyrs by the name of Valentine.
Many countries and cultures have their own traditions for the holiday opposite of the United States, while several nations don’t observe the day at all.
In Serbia the majority of people do not celebrate any of the Catholic saints and their related holidays, but instead celebrate and honor their own religious figures.
In Serbia, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on Aug. 12. Feb. 14 serves as the day people honor St.Trifun, who is the protector of wine, wineries, hale and flood. Families will hold a celebration in their homes where the host will have an assortment of traditional foods, and have many guests come over to celebrate.
Serbia isn’t the only place to celebrate this holiday differently than what Americans are accustomed to. In Finland for example, people celebrate it between friends.There is no romantic context to the day. Valentine’s Day is a newly celebrated holiday in Finland.
In Japan, women give out chocolates. Different chocolates mean different things depending on who one gives them to.
For example, women will give ‘giri-choko’ to men like their fathers, friends, etc, who they have no romantic feelings for. “Giri-Choko” translates to “obligatory chocolate”.
If you want to give chocolate to a romantic interest like a spouse or a boyfriend for instance, you would give them “honmei-choko” which means “favorite, or true feeling chocolate.” according to www.todayifoundout.com.
For more information on more Valentine’s Day traditions around the world, visit the same site at http://bit.ly/1faHy2a.