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How the rest of the world celebrates the holiday of love

Valentine's Day

Everyone has their own way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the United States. Some treat their loved ones with pink and red flowers and a romantic gesture like an elaborate dinner. Others watch rom-coms and wait until Feb. 15 for half-priced chocolate.

Rom-coms have depicted the ideal Valentine's Day for years, but around the world people celebrate differently. From bonfires to cursing out the unrequited love from the year or giving a significant other a love spoon, countries around the world have different ways of celebrating love.

In Japan, on Feb. 14 the men get the special treatment. Women give their male counterparts chocolates called “Giri Choco,” or obligation chocolate. It is explicitly stated these are given to men who the woman no romantic feelings toward. It's similar to American elementary school, but now you have to spend your own money.

A “Honmei Choco” is a completely different story. If a lady friend gifts one of these to a man, then she is expressing her true romantic feelings. Men are given the chance to return the favor on March. 14, known as “White Day.”

South Korea also follows this once-a-month expression of affection, but it is celebrated on April 14. They observe “Black Day” in which singles gather together and essentially have a pity party, wear black, eat dark colored foods and complain about their lack of a relationship over the last two months. It's pretty similar to any single-ladies party stateside.

Speaking of dealing with rejection, in France, there was a tradition called “une loterie d'amour,” or a love drawing in which singles would go to opposite houses and start pairing. As the event carried on, if a man was not satisfied with his partner, he could just leave her for another. At the end of the night, the unpaired women would gather around a bonfire to burn the pictures of their betrayers while cursing at them. This tradition eventually got a little out of hand, and the French government banned the event. The good news is fire pits are readily available at Walmart for the Americans who feel similarly betrayed in their love life.

Let's move on from illegal singles activities into a more fitting tradition to holiday of love. In Wales, their patron saint of love isn’t the roman Valentine but Saint Dwynwen, the welsh saint of lovers.

Their day of romance is celebrated on his feast day, Jan. 25, when it is a custom to give loved ones a lovespoon.

Young men traditionally carve a wooden spoon decorated with meaningful symbols like a heart, a celtic knot or a dragon.

These spoons are then given as gifts to display their affections. The spoons can also be given as gifts during other occasions and  isn't exclusive to lovers. It is still a symbol of Wales' romantic holiday.

news.ed@ocolly.com