Valentine's Day, contrary to popular belief, is a holiday filled with history and tradition worldwide. There are several different legends that surround Valentine's Day and Saint Valentine himself. Legends vary from culture to culture, and so do the traditions and the ways that the holiday is celebrated.
Denmark and Norway do not largely celebrate the holiday, but both have adopted western traditions somewhat. They typically take their Valentine out to dinner or send them a card. The local flower industry is also trying to promote the holiday in order to get a spike in sales. In Sweden the flower companies have also been recently pushing the holiday even though it is still not an official holiday in the country. Many countries are observing the profits that companies in some western cultures experience due to Valentine's Day and are hoping to see the same results.
In Finland Valentine's Day is less about romantics but more about friendship. Estonia has similar traditions that focus on remembering friends. In Norfolk, "Jack Valentine" leaves treats at the back doors of houses for all of the children.
While many countries do celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14th, some also have other holidays dedicated to love. In Slovenia Valentine's Day marks the day that flowers begin to grow. Their more traditional "day of love" is on March 12th that signifies the beginning of spring. Romania's lovers holiday (Dragobete) is celebrated on February 24th. Brazil has a similar holiday celebrated on June 12th; they give gifts like flowers, chocolates and cards similar to other countries Valentine's celebrations. Egyptians celebrate a similar day called "Egyptian Love Day" on November 4th as well.
Even the countries that celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14th have slightly different traditions. In the United States and United Kingdom gifts are exchanged between sweethearts that typically include chocolate, flowers, and cards. In many South American countries people give secret gifts to their friends, coworkers and romantic interests. In both South Korea and Japan, women give men chocolates on February 14th, and men give gifts to women on March 14th. However just in South Korea on April 14th, those who did not receive a gift on the previous two days go to a restaurant and order noodles with black sauce to mourn their single lives.
No matter what traditions a country has for Valentine's Day, there is no question that businesses can find a way to profit from it. Candy shops, flower markets, card companies, and restaurants all over the world rely on the business of love on days like today.
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