Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. A day which is mainly associated with romance and love. However, in many countries, Valentine’s Day is actually not about proving your love to your romantic partner but rather celebrating family and friends. CUPONATION has looked into its markets around the globe and compiled all the things you need to know about the most famous love celebration of the year.
What’s the story of Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day comes from both Christian and Roman traditions and has actually a stronger religious meaning than what we usually give to it.
According to the legend, Valentine was a roman priest in the third century. To go against a decision of the Emperor Claudius II to outlaw marriage for young men in order to send them to war, he decided to continue performing marriages for young people in secret. When the authorities found out, he was sentenced to death.
Since Ancient times, the month February has always been associated with fertility. In Rome, February 15th was even celebrated in honor of Lupercus, the fertility God. In Greece, this month was dedicated to the union of Zeus and Hera.
The Catholic Church made the 14th of February the official date of Valentine’s Day in 495. But this is not universal. Indeed, in Brazil, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in June, along with Carnival since it is winter there at that time.
Nowadays, Valentine’s Day has become a widespread celebration in many countries around the world but each has their own way of celebrating it.
How to celebrate Valentine’s Day from Oslo to Singapore to New Delhi?
Did you know that on Valentine’s Day, about 180 million cards are sent around the world? This fact makes it the second most popular event of the year after Christmas.
In most countries, Valentine’s Day remains a celebration of love and a romantic opportunity to spend time with your partner. This is the case for most Europe and Northern America. In France, this event is popular: 60% of the French people celebrate it according to an research done by Biba magazine. The same goes for Spain, Mexico, Italy and even Singapore, where this tradition has been getting stronger over the past years.
In Germany, where Valentine’s Day officially arrived after WWII with the American soldiers, Valentine’s Day still has a religious dimension as some Catholic churches offer services with blessings for couples after the sermon.
In Singapore, Valentine’s day is celebrated with much gusto, like many nations across the world. The most intriguing valentine tradition carried in Singapore is that unmarried women gather near the Singapore River in the dark night to throw Mandarin oranges into the river. This is done with a hope to find their soul mates, and Valentine’s Day is considered the best day to do so. Singapore is one of those cities that can be seen indulging in grand celebrations on this love day, with several music carnivals, night shows and extravagant fashion shows being hosted at multiple places. Red tulips are the most popular among all the flowers being exchanged on this day. Cosmetics and designer outfits are sold like hot cakes around Valentine’s Day in Singapore.
In India, Valentine’s Day starts to become popular in the big cities but the trend is different for smaller cities because they consider it as a very Western tradition. Valentine’s Day is highly celebrated amongst young couples and school or college students. It is a day for expression of love and confession for most students. Similar situation in Russia where Valentine’s Day is mostly celebrated in urban areas and even tends to lose popularity since some years. However, the tradition is so strong than in schools or some organization you can sometimes find boxes where anyone could live a “valentinka”, a letter for her/his secret lover.
In Australia, this day is also a love celebration, but with a broader understanding: it is typically a day in which people celebrate their love. In most cases this implies a romantic relationship; however showing family and friends that you love them is also very common. And this is a trend that is growing over the years and spreading across boundaries.
The Nordics Valentine’s: a friendship celebration?
The Nordics are good illustration of this. Valentine’s Day is getting popular there since a couple of years only and is mainly considered as a friendship celebration.
In Denmark, Valentine’s Day is only slowly picking up and has been celebrated for some years. In Norway, this day still has a love connotation and couples usually go out for dinner.
But in Finland and Sweden, the story is not the same. Indeed, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of…friendship! In Finland, the meaning of Valentine’s Day is indeed “Friend’s day”. And Sweden is slowly picking up: for the past 3 years, it has become more common to buy gifts to your friends, nice neighbours or to someone who has helped you. So, in a relationship or not, it is highly likely that you will still receive something. Check out this infographic by Andres Prieto below.
In contradiction with some preconceived ideas, the popularity of Valentine’s Day is not decreasing. A study conducted by savings portal CupoNation across 17 countries worldwide shows a significant increase of more than 500% in online spending for flowers and gifts in the week of Valentine’s Day in the past years. Indeed, on Valentine’s Day, florists sell as much as they would do in one week. In 2014 Lufthansa Cargo even transported 1000 tons of Roses to Germany, which is weighed around the same as 1000 cars.
Besides Flowers, photography related products have also gained a lot of popularity the past years, especially since 2015. Travels and holidays also tend to increase in this period of time, a little romantic get-away being one of the favorite presents for Valentine’s Day. Most original gifts include erotic articles, lingerie and socks for men.