Valentine’s Day often makes us think of red roses, romantic dinners and slushy cards, but around the world, there are some Valentine’s traditions that are far from what we might consider the romantic ‘norm’! From hand carved wooden spoons, to bay leaves on the pillow, chocolate pigs and beyond, there’s some weird and absolutely wonderful romantic traditions out there…
Going Straight into the Friend Zone
In Finland and Estonia, February 14th is all about expressions of love, romantic gifts and heartfelt words in cards, to err… your friends.
In Finland, this celebration of love is known as Ystävän Päivä and in Estonia it’s called Sõbrapäev. If you’ve been hoping for a date with someone you fancy and you get a Happy Friends Day card, we guess you’ll be bitterly disappointed!
Getting the Wooden Spoon
In certain sports, such as football, at the end of the season, being awarded the wooden spoon isn’t much to celebrate – it means you’ve been the worst player. But in Wales, being handed a beautifully crafted wooden spoon means that someone thinks you’re very special indeed.
It’s all to pay tribute St. Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. Quite how wooden spoons became synonymous with love, we’re not sure, but they’ve become so popular as a token of affection that they’re now common wedding and anniversary gifts.
Bay Leaves on my Pillow…
This is an olde English tradition that is said to encourage sweet dreams of a future husband. To get the spell right, a bay leaf must be placed on each corner of the pillow the night before Valentine’s Day, in order for you to meet the man of your dreams in your sleep.
Ich Liebe Dich
Our German friends celebrate the international day of love by giving loved ones pictures, statues or chocolate sculptures of pigs. They’re said to bring good fortune, and perhaps more importantly, lust.
*Finds plastic pig shaped mould* *melts chocolate* *goes looking for lust*
Talking of Chocolate…
In Japan, it’s the ladies who take the reins on February 14th. Unlike in the UK, where it’s traditionally the male ‘job’ to make the first move (pah, we’re so glad it’s the 21st Century), Japanese ladies give their lover / potential lover chocolate.
But it very much depends on what type of chocolate you’re given before you start planning your date night outfit. High quality honmei-choco chocolate is the ‘true feeling’ chocolate, and you’re onto a winner.
However, giri-choco chocolate is cheap ‘obligation’ chocolate and pretty much just means you’re a mate or a colleague. It gets worse though. Receive cho-giri choco and someone is telling you you’re pretty unpopular, as you’ve just been given a box of ‘ultra-obligation’ chocolate. (Best hide that one…)
Surprising Your Beau this Valentine’s Day
However you want to celebrate Valentine’s, whether with a wooden spoon or a chocolate pig, the element of surprise is always going to inject some (hopefully well received) romance.
Here’s some ideas for surprising your loved one:
- Get up early and leave love letters all over the house – the bathroom mirror, the coffee jar, the fridge, the car, the more the merrier! Fill them with words about how much you love them and how much they mean to you.
- If you don’t live together, get old fashioned and post a number of love letters to arrive at home and their place of work.
- Book a private chef! At AmoChef, we have chefs that specialise in cuisines from all around the world. Book your fave and arrange your dining table for a professionally cooked dinner for two in your own home. The best bit? Our private chefs do the clearing up, too! No travelling, no washing up, no fuss. What better way to celebrate love?
Enjoy! And if you’re on your own this Valentine’s, eat your body weight in chocolate. Just make sure it’s giri-choco, not cho-giri choco…