How countries around the world celebrate the month of love
Every year on Valentine’s Day, which is celebrated on February 14, couples around the world shower each other with romantic dinners, red roses, chocolates, teddy bears and even romantic trips away.
Air France sheds light on some weird and wonderful ways love is celebrated around the world.
While it has become incredibly cheesy over the years, sealing your love through a padlock on a bridge is still an incredibly romantic gesture in France – especially on the famed Pont des Arts bridge that connects the Louvre and the Institut de France in Paris.
Today, however, law enforcement officials have removed old locks and banned anyone from placing new locks on the bridge after the immense strain the locks put on the infrastructure of the bridge.
Valentine’s Day is a big deal in France because the French do love their romance. Expect plenty of chocolates, roses, candle-lit dinners and cabaret shows around the country.
In this Eastern European country, springtime and love go hand-in-hand, which is why March 12, the first day of spring, is celebrated in the Slovenian calendar.
The Slovenians believe that the birds get married on March 12, dubbed St Gregory’s Day. On that day people give heart-shaped honey biscuits to their loved ones as they celebrate love and a new season.
China celebrates the Qixi Festival to celebrate loved ones. The tradition dates back more than 2 000 years. The festival originated from an ancient folk story, The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd.
In the story, the weaver girl is a fairy who falls for a mortal. When her mother gets wind of their love, she separates them. However, she has allowed them to reunite once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month.
To celebrate the day, women would speedily thread a needle under the moonlight to demonstrate dexterity in hopes of finding a good husband. Today, couples celebrate the festival by participating in kissing contests around the country.
On the 15th day of the Jewish month of Av (July or August in the Gregorian calendar), Israel celebrates Tu B’Av, a romantic day that dates back to biblical times.
The day initially celebrated the start of the grape harvest, when unmarried women would dress in white and dance in the vineyards hoping to attract a mate.
In modern times, the day is known as a great day for weddings, commitment ceremonies, renewal of vows and even proposing.
Each year, the Finnish village of Sonkarjavi hosts the Wife-Carrying Championships. Every year, participants sling their wives or partners over their shoulders and compete in a series of events.
The competition consists of crossing two dry obstacles and one water obstacle, which is about a metre deep and 250m long. The winner, who completes the track in the fastest time receives his partner’s weight in beer.
There are also prizes for the most entertaining couple, the best costume and the strongest carrier.
Italians have a variety of ways they celebrate love throughout the year, but the most famous tradition is the Lovers in Camogli festival which takes place in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, ending on the day itself.
During the festival, lovers tie red hearts with the names of their loved ones on fishing nets around the city, take part in poetry competitions, visit Valentine’s markets and take part in a famous plate-painting competition.
During the festival, many of the local restaurants offer a special dinner-for-two menu, including a bottle of Champagne and a dish to mark the occasion.
Denmark has its own witty twist on Valentine’s Day. Citizens send witty love poems to their loved ones called gaekkebrev, which translates to “joking letter”.
These poems poke fun at the archaic practice.
According to the custom, the sender signs the letter with dots instead of a name. If the recipient correctly guesses who the sender is, they receive an egg at Easter.