Valentine’s Day : Celebration and Status Around the World

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Valentine’s customs developed in early modern England and spread throughout the English-speaking world in the nineteenth century.

In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, these customs spread to other countries, but their effect has been more limited than those of Hallowe’en, or aspects of Christmas (such as Santa Claus).

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Due to a concentrated marketing effort, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in some East Asian countries, where Chinese and South Koreans spend the most money on Valentine’s Day gifts.

Valentine's Day : Celebration and Status Around the World

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Latin America

In some countries of Latin America, Valentine’s Day is known as “Valentine’s Day” or “Day of Love and Friendship”. For example, Costa Rica, Mexico and Puerto Rico, among others. It is also common to see people perform “acts of gratitude” for their friends. In Guatemala it is known as the “Day of Love”.

In Brazil, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on June 12, probably because it is the day before Saint Anthony’s Day, known there as the saint of marriage. when traditionally many single women perform popular rituals, called sympathies, to find a good husband or boyfriend. Couples exchange gifts, chocolates, cards and bouquets of flowers. On February 14, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated at all because it usually goes down very little or too soon after the Brazilian Carnival, which can fall from the beginning of February to the beginning of March and lasts almost a week. Due to the absence of Valentine’s Day and due to the Carnival celebrations, Brazil is a popular tourist spot in February for western singles who want to get away from the holidays.

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In most of Latin America, the Day of Love and Friendship and the Secret Friend are quite popular and are usually celebrated together on February 14 (one exception is Colombia, where the third Saturday of September is celebrated). . The latter consists of assigning randomly to each participant a recipient who will be granted an anonymous gift (similar to the Christmas tradition of Secret Santa).

China

In Chinese, Valentine’s Day is called the festival of lovers (simplified Chinese: traditional 节, traditional Chinese: chino 節, Mandarin Chinese: Qīng Rén Jié, Hokkien: Chêng Lîn Chiat, Cantonese: Chìhng Yàhn Jit, Shanghainese, Xin Yin Jiq). The “Chinese Valentine’s Day” is the Qixi Festival, which is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. It commemorates a day in which a legendary cowherd and a tissue maiden can be together. In Chinese culture, there is an older observance related to lovers, called “The night of the sevens” (Chinese: 七夕; pinyin: Qi Xi). According to the legend, the star of Cowherd and the star of Weaver Maid are usually separated by the Milky Way (silver river), but they are allowed to cross crossing the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese calendar.

In recent years, the celebration of the White Day has also become fashionable among some young people.

India

In India, in antiquity, there was a tradition of worshiping Kamadeva, the lord of love; exemplified by the erotic carvings in the Khajuraho Monument Group and by the writing of the Kamasutra love treatise. This tradition was lost around the Middle Ages, when Kamadeva was no longer celebrated, and public demonstrations of sexual affection frowned. This repression of public affections persisted until the 1990s.

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Valentine’s Day celebrations were not successful in India until about 1992. It was extended due to commercial television programs such as MTV, dedicated radio shows and love letter contests, as well as economic liberalization that allowed The explosion of the Valentine’s day card industry. Economic liberalization also helped the Valentine’s card industry. The celebration has caused a sudden change in the way people have been showing their affection in public since the Middle Ages.

In modern times, Hindu and Islamic traditionalists have considered the festival as a cultural pollution of the West, as a result of globalization in India. Shiv Sena and Sangh Parivar have asked their followers to avoid holidays and the “public admission of love” because they are “alien to Indian culture”. Although these protests are organized by political elites, the protesters themselves are middle-class Hindu men who fear that globalization will destroy traditions in their society: arranged marriages, Hindu joint families, full-time mothers, etc.

Despite these obstacles, Valentine’s Day is becoming increasingly popular in India.

Valentine's Day : Celebration and Status Around the World

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Valentine’s Day has been strongly criticized from a postcolonial perspective by intellectuals of the Indian left. The party is considered as a front for “Western imperialism”, “neocolonialism” and “exploitation of the working classes through the commercialism of multinational corporations.” It is asserted that, as a result of Valentine’s Day, the working classes and the rural poor disconnect socially, politically and geographically from the hegemonic capitalist power structure. They also criticize the dominant media attacks against Indians who oppose Valentine’s Day as a form of demonization that is designed and derived to promote the Valentine’s Day agenda. Hindu nationalists on the right are also hostile. In February 2012, Subash Chouhan of Bajrang Dal warned couples that “they can not kiss or hug each other in public places, our activists will beat them”. He said: “We are not against love, but we criticize the vulgar exposure of love in public places.”

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Iran

In the first part of the 21st century, the celebration of Valentine’s Day in Iran has been harshly criticized by Islamic teachers who see the celebrations in opposition to Islamic culture. In 2011, the Iranian print owners’ union issued a directive prohibiting the printing and distribution of any product that promotes holidays, including cards, gifts and teddy bears. “The printing and production of any item related to this day is prohibited, including posters, boxes and cards with hearts or hearts, red roses and any activity that promotes this day … The businesses that violate this will be treated legally,” the union warned.

In Iran, the Sepandarmazgan, or Esfandegan, is a festival where people express love towards their mothers and wives, and it is also a celebration of the land in ancient Persian culture. It has gradually been forgotten in favor of the Western celebration of Valentine’s Day. The Association of Cultural and Natural Phenomena of Iran has tried since 2006 to make Sepandarmazgan a national holiday on February 17, to replace the western festivities.

Israel

In Israel, the Jewish tradition of Tu B’Av has been revived and transformed into the Jewish equivalent of Valentine’s Day. It is celebrated on the 15th of the month of Av (usually at the end of August). In ancient times, girls wore white dresses and danced in the vineyards, where children would be waiting for them (Mishna Taanith, end of chapter 4). Today, Tu B’Av is celebrated as a second love party for secular people (along with Valentine’s Day), and shares many of the customs associated with Valentine’s Day in Western societies. In modern Israeli culture, Tu B’Av is a popular day to pronounce love, propose marriage and give gifts such as cards or flowers.

Japan

In Japan, Morozoff Ltd. introduced the vacation for the first time in 1936, when it published an advertisement aimed at foreigners. Later in 1953, he began to promote the delivery of heart-shaped chocolates; other Japanese confectionery companies followed his example thereafter. In 1958, the department store Isetan made a “Valentine’s sale”. Other campaigns during the 1960s popularized the custom.

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The custom that only women give chocolates to men may be due to the translation error of an executive of a chocolate company during the initial campaigns. In particular, the ladies in the office give chocolate to their co-workers. Unlike Western countries, gifts such as greeting cards, candy, flowers or dinners are rare, and most of the activity related to gifts is to give the right amount of chocolate to each person. Japanese chocolate companies earn half of their annual sales during this time of year.

Valentine's Day : Celebration and Status Around the World

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Many women feel obligated to give chocolates to all coworkers, except when the day falls on a Sunday, a holiday. This is known as giri-choko (義理 チ ョ,), de giri (“obligation”) and choko (“chocolate”), and the unpopular companions receive only chō-giri choko chocolate “ultra obligatory”. This contrasts with honmei-choko (本命 チ lit lit, literally, “real feeling chocolate”), chocolate given to a loved one. Friends, especially girls, can exchange chocolate called tomo-choko (友 チ ョ;); of tomo meaning “friend”.

In the 1980s, the Japanese National Confectionery Industry Association launched a successful campaign to make March 14 a “day of response,” where men are expected to return the favor to those who gave them chocolates on St. Valentine, calling it a White Day because of the color of the chocolates that are offered. A previous failed attempt to popularize this celebration had been made by a marshmallow maker who wanted men to return marshmallows to women.

Men are expected to return gifts that are at least two or three times more valuable than gifts received on Valentine’s Day. Not returning the gift is perceived as the man who places himself in a position of superiority, even if excuses are given. Returning a gift of equal value is considered a way of saying that the relationship is being cut. Originally she was only given chocolate, but now gifts of jewelry, accessories, clothes and lingerie are common. According to the official website of White Day, the white color was chosen because it is the color of purity, which evokes “pure and sweet adolescent love”, and because it is also the color of sugar. The initial name was “Ai ni Kotaeru White Day” (Answer love in White Day).

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In Japan, the “romantic night” associated with Valentine’s Day is celebrated on Christmas Eve.

In a 2006 survey of people between 10 and 49 years old in Japan, Oricon Style found Sayuri Kokushō’s 1986 single “Valentine Kiss” as the most popular Valentine’s Day song, even though it sold only 317,000 copies. The singles that won the ranking were number one selling “Love Love Love” by Dreams Come True (2,488,630 copies) and “Valentine’s Radio” by Yumi Matsutoya (1,606,780 copies). The last song among the first five was “My Funny Valentine” by Miles Davis.

In Japan, a slightly different version of a holiday based on a history of lovers called Tanabata (七夕) has been celebrated for centuries, on July 7 (Gregorian calendar). It has been considered by Westerners as similar to Valentine’s Day.

Lebanon

Saint Valentine is the patron saint of a large part of the Lebanese population. Couples take advantage of the opportunity of Valentine’s Day to exchange sweet words and gifts as proof of love. These gifts usually include boxes of chocolates, Valentine’s Cupcakes, as well as red roses, which are the emblem of sacrifice and passion.

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Malaysia

Islamic officials in western Malaysia warned Muslims not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, associating it with vice activities. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the celebration of romantic love was not “adequate” for Muslims. Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, head of the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim), which oversees the country’s Islamic policies, said a fatwa issued by the country’s top clerics in 2005 indicated that the day ‘is associated with elements of Christianity, ‘and’ we simply can not get involved with the worship rituals of other religions’. The officials of Jakim planned to carry out a national campaign called “Valentine’s Day of Awas Jerat” (“Beware of the Valentine’s Day Trap”), aimed at preventing Muslims from celebrating on February 14, 2011. Activities include raids on hotels to stop young couples from having illegal sex and distributing leaflets to Muslim university students warning them against the day.

On Valentine’s Day 2011, religious authorities in western Malaysia arrested more than 100 Muslim couples in connection with the ban on the celebration. Some of them would be charged in the Shariah Court for defying the department’s ban against the celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day : Celebration and Status Around the World

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In eastern Malaysia, the celebration is much more tolerated among young Muslim couples, although some Islamic officials and Muslim activists in the west have told younger generations to refrain from such a celebration by organizing da’wah and trying to extend their prohibition to the east. In the states of Sabah and Sarawak, the celebration is usually common with flowers.

Pakistan

The concept of Valentine’s Day was introduced in Pakistan in the late 1990s with special television and radio programs. The Jamaat-e-Islami political party has called for a ban on the celebration of Valentine’s Day. Despite this, the celebration is becoming popular among urban youth and the florists hope to sell a lot of flowers, especially red roses. The case is the same for card publishers.

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In 2016, the local governing body of Peshwar officially banned the celebration of Valentine’s Day in the city of Peshwar. The ban was also implemented in another city like Kohat by the local government.

In 2017, the Islamabad High Court banned Valentine’s Day celebrations in public places in Pakistan.

Philippines

In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is called Araw ng mga Put in the same way as in the West. It is usually characterized by a sharp increase in the price of flowers, especially red roses.

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, in 2002 and 2008, religious police banned the sale of all Valentine’s Day items, and told store workers to remove red items, because the day is considered a Christian holiday. This ban has created a black market for roses and wrapping paper. In 2012, the religious police arrested more than 140 Muslims for celebrating the holidays and confiscated all the red roses from the flower shops. Muslims can not celebrate holidays, and non-Muslims can only celebrate behind closed doors.

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“Saudi cleric Sheikh Muhammad Al-‘Arifi said on the eve of Valentine’s Day that celebrating these holidays is a gamble – a forbidden innovation and a deviation from religious law and custom – and the imitation of the West.”

Singapore

According to the results, Singaporeans are among those who spend the most on Valentine’s Day, with 60% of Singaporeans saying they would spend between $ 100 and $ 500 during the season before the holidays.

South Korea

In South Korea, women give men chocolate on February 14, and men give women candy without chocolate on March 14 (White Day). On April 14 (Black Day), those who did not receive anything on February 14 or March go to a Chinese-Korean restaurant to eat black noodles (자장면 jajangmyeon) and lament their “unique life”. Koreans also celebrate Pepero Day on November 11, when young couples give each other Pepero cookies. The date ’11 / 11 ‘is intended to resemble the long form of the cookie. The 14th of each month marks a day related to love in Korea, although most of them are dark. From January to December: Candle Day, Valentine’s Day, White Day, Black Day, Day of the Rose, Kiss Day, Silver Day, Green Day, Music Day, Wine Day, Film Day and Day of the hug. Korean women give a much higher amount of chocolate than Japanese women.

Taiwan

In Taiwan, the traditional Qixi Festival, Valentine’s Day and White Day are celebrated. However, the situation is reversed to that of Japan. Men give gifts to women on Valentine’s Day, and women return them on White Day.

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Lebanon

They celebrate Valentine’s Day in a different way in each city. In the main city, Bayreuth, men take women to dinner and can buy them a gift. Many women are asked to marry that day. In Saida they celebrate it with the whole family: it is more about family love than about the love of a couple.

Valentine's Day : Celebration and Status Around the World

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United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, just under half of the population spends money on their Valentine cards and around £ 1.3 billion is spent annually on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts, with an estimated 25 million cards sent.

In Wales, some people celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St. Dwynwen’s Day) on January 25 instead of (or as well as) Valentine’s Day. The day commemorates St Dwynwen, the patron saint of Wales lovers.

Ireland

On Valentine’s Day in Ireland, many people seeking true love make a Christian pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of St. Valentine at the Carmelite Church of Whitefriar Street in Dublin, which houses the relics of St. Valentine’s Day in Rome; They pray in the sanctuary hoping to find romance.

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Finland and Estonia

In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called ystävänpäivä, which translates to “Friend’s Day”. As its name suggests, this day is more about remembering friends, not significant others. In Estonia, Valentine’s Day is called sõbrapäev, which has the same meaning.

France

In France, a traditionally Catholic country, Valentine’s Day is simply known as “Valentine’s Day” and is celebrated in a very similar way to other Western countries.

Greece

Valentine’s Day, or Ημέρα του Αγίου Βαλεντίνου in the Greek tradition, was not associated with romantic love; In the Eastern Orthodox Church there is another Saint who protects people who are in love, Jacinto de Cesarea (July 3 party), but in contemporary Greece, this tradition has been replaced by the “globalized” form of Valentine’s Day .

Portugal

In Portugal it is more commonly known as “Dia dos Namorados” (Lover’s Day / Day of the Enamoured).

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Romania

In recent years, Romania also began to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This has provoked the reaction of several nationalist groups, institutions and organizations such as Noua Dreaptǎ, who condemn Valentine’s Day for being superficial, commercial and imported Western kitsch. In order to counteract the perceived denaturalization of the national culture, Dragobete, a spring festival held in parts of southern Romania, has been revived as the traditional Romanian festival for lovers. Its date used to vary depending on the geographical area, however today it is commonly observed on February 24. The party is named after a Romanian folk character who was supposed to be the son of Baba Dochia. His name has been associated, possibly through popular etymology, with the word drag (“beloved”), which can also be found in the word dragoste (“love”).

Scandinavia

In Denmark and Norway, although February 14 is known as Valentinsdag, it is not widely celebrated, but it is largely imported into American culture, and some people take the time to eat a romantic dinner with their partner, to Send a card to a secret love or give a red rose to your loved one. The cut flower industry in particular is still working on holiday promotion. In Sweden it is called Alla hjärtans dag (“All Hearts Day”) and was launched in the 1960s by the commercial interests of the flower industry and due to the influence of American culture. It is not an official holiday, but its celebration is recognized and the sales of cosmetics and flowers for this holiday are only surpassed by Mother’s Day.

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