Expressions of Love Shared Around the World

Every year, after the presents are opened, after the champagne corks are popped, many turn their eyes to Valentine’s Day. This is the day when people celebrate love and all of the sentiments that go with it. From the words to the traditions, nothing quite fills the heart like this February holiday.

Unsavoury Holiday Origins

Valentine’s Day began with rather unsavoury origins. In Roman times, males celebrated the feast of Lupercalia by sacrificing animals between February 13th and 15th, then whipping women with their hides. In the same era, “Emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine in different years, but both on February 14th. The Catholic Church declared them martyrs, and February 14th was forever known as the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day” (Plated.com).

As Mandy Eve-Barnett explains, “In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius combined St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia in an attempt to expel the pagan ritual.” This combination, along with the Norman celebration of women called “Galatin’s Day” thrown in to add confusion, led to the holiday of love we know today.

Celebrating Love Around the World

Not many countries celebrate Valentine’s Day quite like Canada and the United States, where the holiday has been co-opted by commercialism, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel the love on February 14th.

In Japan, girls give traditional chocolates to all of their male friends and colleagues. For the boys they really love, they send special chocolates and a homemade gift. One month later on March 14th, the boys return the favour with chocolates and more expensive gifts on “White Day.”

They do the same in Korea, but then, on April 14th, the single people get together and commiserate by eating black noodles in observance of “Black Day.”

In Italy, the traditional staples of gifts, restaurant meals and romance are taken up a notch. Baci Perugina are “small chocolates [that] are wrapped in silver and blue foil, and filled with hazelnuts. Inside each baci, which means ‘kisses,’ is a small love note written in various languages” (Plated.com).

Paris is already hailed as the city of love, but Valentine’s Day is still special in France. The exchange of love letters and cards claims its origins here, and they continue to flow freely. French cuisine defines the romantic dinner, complete with a glass of wine and followed with a sweet (and shareable) dessert.

Ghana is one of the biggest cocoa producers in the world, and they celebrate February 14th as “National Chocolate Day.” Travel Triangle explains this as “a step that the Ghana government took in 2007 to increase tourism in the country. On [this day] one can attend performances, music events, and restaurants have themed menus for the special day.”

Sending You Love and Good Translations

While you’re busy feeling the love this February 14th, the professional staff at ITC Translations will be hard at work, translating everything from corporate contracts to company videos. And we’ll do it in the most romantic languages in the world, from French to Finnish, Spanish to Swedish, and more. Request a quote today for all your translation needs.

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