St. Valentine's Day Celebration in European Countries
Valentine's Day, also known as Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is a celebration observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world. The day was first associated with romantic love.
St. Valentine’s day is celebrated in different ways in some European countries.
In Finland and Estonia Valentine's Day is called "Friend's Day". As the name indicates, this day is more about remembering friends, not significant others.
In France, a traditionally Catholic country, Valentine's Day is known simply as "Saint Valentin", and is celebrated in much the same way as other western countries.
St. Valentine's Day, or Ημέρα του Αγίου Βαλεντίνου in Greek tradition was not associated with romantic love; In the Eastern Orthodox church there is another Saint who protects people who are in love, Hyacinth of Caesarea (feast day July 3), but in contemporary Greece, this tradition has mostly been superseded by the "globalized" form of Valentine's Day.
In Portugal it is more commonly referred to as "Dia dos Namorados" (Lover's Day / Day of the Enamoured).
In recent years, Romania has also started celebrating Valentine's Day. A spring festival celebrated in parts of Southern Romania, has been rekindled as the traditional Romanian holiday for lovers. Its date used to vary depending on the geographical area, however nowadays it is commonly observed on February 24. The holiday is named after a character from Romanian folklore who was supposed to be the son of Baba Dochia. His name has been associated, possibly through folk etymology, to the word drag ("dear"), which can also be found in the word dragoste ("love").
In Denmark and Norway, it is not celebrated to a large extent, but is largely imported from American culture, and some people take time to eat a romantic dinner with their partner, to send a card to a secret love or give a red rose to their loved one.
In Spain, Valentine's Day is known as "San Valentín" and is celebrated the same way as in the UK, it is however not celebrated in Catalonia. It is customary for courting couples to exchange gifts on Valentine's Day and for husbands to send their wives bouquets of roses.
In Wales, some people celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen's Day) on January 25 instead of (or as well as) Valentine's Day. The day commemorates St Dwynwen, the patron saint of Welsh lovers.
Austria has some rather obscure courtship customs that may or may not be associated with Saint Valentine's Day. Nonetheless, it is customary for a young man to present his beloved with a bunch of flowers on February 14.
The poets of Britain have probably penned the majority of the best-loved romantic verses associated with Saint Valentine. Different regions of the nation celebrate their own customs to honor this day, although the sending of cards and gifts of flowers and chocolates is standard procedure throughout the entire country. One uniform custom is the singing of special songs by children, who then receive gifts of candy, fruit or money. In some areas, valentine buns are baked with caraway seeds, plums or raisins.
In Germany, it has become customary for the young man of a courting couple to present his beloved with flowers on February 14. Valentine gifts in Germany are usually in the shape of love tokens, complete with endearing messages. However, these are not distributed solely on Valentine's Day, but on any occasion. Even early German baptismal certificates or marriage certificates were considered at one time to have been valentines, but were more likely simply decorative and pictorial documents which contained lovely verses.
In Italy, Valentine's Day was once celebrated as a Spring Festival, held in the open air, where young people would gather in tree arbors or ornamental gardens to listen to music and the reading of poetry. However, over the course of the years, this custom steadily ceased and has not now been celebrated for centuries. In Turin, it was formerly the custom for betrothed couples to announce their engagements on February 14. For several days ahead of time, the stores would be decorated and filled with all manner of bon-bons.
However, if you are over all that romantic stuff and are travelling in Europe in February you will find many clubs and bars have singles nights or traffic light parties on Valentine’s Night to tone down all the hearts and flowers. Traffic light parties are a great way to break the ice; wear green to indicate ‘you are on the look out’, wear orange or yellow to say ‘maybe, baby’ and if you wear red this means a ‘no go!
Written by : Aleksandr Televinov 507