Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, but not in the same way. Some countries even banned this holiday.

In Germany a pig is considered as a symbol of happiness and lust, Photo: D. T.
In Germany a pig is considered as a symbol of happiness and lust, Photo: D. T.

( — February 14, 2017) — Valentine’s Day is a very popular holiday. Statistics show that people who are in love send each other more than a billion greeting cards on this day! As far as greeting cards are concerned, Christmas is the only holiday overriding Valentine’s Day, topping the list with more than 2 billion cards being sent in the U.S. each year.

Couples in the U.S. buy each other a variety of gifts, but most of all they buy chocolate hearts.

But in Japan, for example, women do not receive gifts from men, they do the gift giving. But, a month later, on March 14th, men “fight back” and reciprocate on the day known as White Day, where men give women gifts as a sort of repayment for the ones that women gave them on Valentine’s Day.

In South Africa, there is a custom that the ladies write the name of the person they love on a heart-shaped paper and attach it to their sleeves.

In Germany, they have a very unusual custom –  in that country, a pig is considered as a symbol of happiness and lust. That’s why couples in Germany usually draw a pig on Valentine’s Day greeting cards or on decorative paper used for gift wrapping.

In Finland and Estonia, on February 14th, Valentine’s Day is celebrated as Friend’s Day. So, for them it is an occasion to celebrate friendship, not love relationships.

Saudi Arabia has banned Valentine’s Day. Showing emotions is a taboo for them and it is also punishable by law. But, some people still want to celebrate the holiday of love, so they secretly buy red roses.

In the Philippines, authorities organize mass weddings for Valentine’s Day, when hundreds of couples pronounce “I do” at the same time.

Brazil has a Valentine’s Day on June 12th, and it is called Dia dos Namorados. The next day, June 13th, they celebrate St. Anthony, the patron of marriage. On that day, girls perform various rituals, hoping to find a good husband.

In England, couples traditionally exchange gifts on February 14th, but in Norfolk county in East Anglia, one of the men disguises as Jack Valentine and gives gifts to children.

Otherwise, the tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day is very long, and there are different theories on why we are celebrating this holiday.

The most popular theory about Valentine’s Day says that the Roman Emperor Claudius II is to blame. He had forbidden the Roman soldiers to get married during the war. That’s why they had to get married in secret, and priest Valentine has performed the wedding ceremonies. Due to this law violation, priest Valentine was arrested and executed.

According to the legend, while he was in prison and waiting for his execution, Valentine wrote love letters to the daughter of one of the guards – Asterius. He signed off all of his letters with “Your Valentine”.

In his honor, we celebrate Valentine’s Day, as the English King, Henry the VII, officially declared February 14th as the day of Saint Valentine in 1537.

Couples buy each other a variety of gifts, but most of all, they buy chocolate hearts and this is no accident. In the 19th century, doctors often recommended chocolate as a cure for a broken heart.

Each year, around 220,000 men worldwide propose to the women they love on Valentine’s Day.

If you are single, instead of Valentine’s Day, you can mark the Singles Awareness Day on February 15th. On that day, people who don’t have a soulmate exchange gifts with their single friends, send flowers to themselves, or plan parties for other singles to mix and mingle.