Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day of fluffy teddy’s, roses and boxes of chocolates. The recent commercialisation of Valentine’s Day has led us to think, perhaps there is no heartfelt meaning left in the day? A recent conversation at Cosy Cottage HQ found that many cultures celebrate this time in very different ways. It doesn’t have to be a day for those with a partner, it can be a time of celebration of love and friendship in its many and varied ways. From the chocolate celebration in Ghana to the joy of friendships in all their forms in Finland, this week we are taking a look at some alternative ways to celebrate Valentines whether you are single or in a relationship.
Ghana - If we go back 25 years ago, there was very little interest in Valentine's Day by Ghanaians. Fast forward to the turn of the century and Ghana's youth became more up to speed with western traditions and began to adopt some of them. The 14th February was now a day of flowers and gifts for your loved ones. In 2007, the Ghanaian Government capitalised on the commercialisation of the occasion and declared the day National Chocolate Day. The idea is to promote chocolate made in Ghana and to generate sales for the cocoa industry. Churches in Ghana quickly put their support into this day as they were concerned of the potential promiscious nature of the day. This has enabled National Chocolate Day to become popular across the country.
Saudi Arabia - Clara talked of a very different experience in Saudi Arabia, where she was based with work in her life before starting Cosy Cottage Soap. She recalls how 10 years anything relating with Christianity was forbidden by the King of the time. This, in turn, meant Valentine's Day. To prevent anything close to the day being celebrated, florists were shut and the public were not allowed to wear red.
South Korea - Valentine's Day works a little differently for those in South Korea compared to the majority of the rest of the world. In fact, there is one 'love day' for every calendar month. Each 14th sees a different celebration, from kiss day to movie day. The love just keeps on flowing! Valentine's Day sees women give men chocolates to show their affections. On the incredibly popular White Day (March 14th), men return the favour by gifting white gifts to women. April 14th sees the only month dedicated to single people. And what a dedication it is! Single people are considered to be those who did not recieve a gift on Valentine's or White Day. It is said that single men and women congregate in black clothing to 'commiserate' over a bowl of Black Noodles.
Finland - Finland sees a very different story unfold indeed. A much more uplifting one at that. Move over Valentine's Day, this is all about a celebration of friendship in its various forms. The day has been pinned in official calendars for 23 years. In 2015 around three million Friendship Cards were sent across the country. It is also a day of simply spending time with those you care about. Sports activities such as bowling and sledging are incredibly popular. It is a day to go for a brunch or dinner with your best friends and closest allies, to give them gifts and let them know their worth.
In recent years there has been a rise in popularity of 'Galentine's' and 'Palentine's' Days on 13th February. These have seen friends celebrate each other and all that they offer in fulfilling our lives. We really love this idea, similar to the Finish Friendship Day. A day for everyone to celebrate all those that mean a lot to them. And that should include your number one, you!
Whilst we might not be taking tips from the South Koreans, we find it really fascinating to see how different cultures celebrate (or don't) St Valentine's Day. Are they any others that we have missed? We'd love to learn more, comment below!