Whether you think Valentine’s Day is romantic, cliche, or just plain capitalistic, it is still a holiday that quite literally holds a special place in the hearts of many all around the world. However, the question remains for many of us dating, possibly people from another nation than their own, how should we celebrate it?

 Here are just some of the ways this holiday is celebrated around the world:


Yes, the famous San Valentino himself was actually Italian! Original Saint Valentine’s day had a more religious connotation and was more rooted in Catholicism. However, today it has taken on a whole different meaning. On the 14th of February, you can commonly find Italians sharing chocolates both with their partners as well as friends. The most common sweet to share at this time in Italian is the aptly named Perugino Baci or kiss chocolate. You can often find sweet messages in the wrappers. 



 Japan is a country built of traditions, and gift-giving is one of them. It’s such a big day that Japan has two separate days dedicated to Valentine’s day. Commonly, women give men gifts on the 14th of February, often a homemade bento box, charm or small trinket. The men then follow up on the 14th of March with gifts of their own - flowers, jewelry or an invitation to a nice dinner are just some of the options couples might indulge in.


Estonia and Finland

On Valentine's Day in Estonia and Finland, it's common to celebrate not just romantic partners, but also close friends. This unique perspective has earned the holiday the nickname "Friend's Day", and although it may not be the best way to find out the person you always liked appreciates you more as a friend, it is a sweet way to show your friends you care. People will still exchange cards or gifts and generally try to meet up for a coffee or drink, maybe even dinner with their closest friends.


So leave your spouse or SO at home and have a girl’s or guy’s night instead!


FYI! For those dating in South America: Valentine’s Day isn’t always celebrated on the 14th of February!


In Brazil, and many other countries in South America, there is another Saint who brings romance and his name is Saint Anthony! Yes, more commonly South Americans will celebrate  “Dia de los Enamorados” or “Dia dos Namorados” during different parts of the year, usually during the autumn or winter months in the hemisphere. However, due to the success of Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, celebrating on the 14th of February is becoming a thing.



Again, despite the official celebration of Valentine's Day in Brazil being on June 12th, the popularity of gift-giving and romance prevails on the 14th of February, causing many Brazilians to celebrate on this day as well. Not that Brazilians needed another excuse to celebrate anything.


As a result, the 14th of February has become a popular date for couples to go on a romantic night out dancing, exchange gifts and for a couple to spend time together. Also, not to forget that their original Valentine’s day is on June 12th, when women follow an old tradition called “simpatias”. Simpatias is often when single women would write the names of potential suitors and lovers on pieces of paper the night before Namorados into a jar. The next morning, they pick a piece of paper at random and the name written there is believed to be the woman’s next suitor - or possibly the man she will marry.



Go big or go home as they say and that is exactly how the Argentinians celebrate Valentine’s day. First, it isn’t just a day, but a whole week of celebrating romance, called “Sweetness Week” and similarly to Brazil, they don’t actually celebrate on the 14th of February but through the 1st to 7th of July - and man, is it just that as every day has a different theme! As the focus changes each day, ranging from different candies or gifts to exchange for a kiss from your romantic pursuit or partner. These gifts often vary depending on the couple. For example, Teddy-Bear Day (a more traditional gift giving during Sweetness Week) might not be every couple's cup of tea, but certainly chocolate or spa bookings may be a better option.



 Germans may not be known to be the most romantic people in the world, but on Valentine’s day, they do put in some effort. Commonly, Germans share Gingerbread cakes (shaped like hearts) with their significant other and eat them after a nice dinner at home. 



Being one of the Cocoa capitals of the world. Nigeria calls Valentine’s day “Chocolate Day” where couples, families, and friends share chocolate with one other. If you are celebrating with a romantic partner, it is also very common to don your best red outfit and write a romantic note to wrap your chocolates in. 


Valentine’s Day might not be everyone’s favorite holiday or even one they feel like celebrating. However, I think that it is sweet to focus on it not as just a day to spend money or buy gifts, but as a day to appreciate your loved ones. Cheesy it might be, but we often forget the little things when it comes to our relationships whether it is for our friends or romantic partners. Valentine’s Day is just a reminder to show someone a little extra love and care.


Needless to say, I hope you all enjoy your Valentine’s Day and spend it with the people who make you feel your best. 


Always keep breaking down your barriers!


  • Marina