Single? Get to one of these countries for V-Day!
What can we say? Love is a universal theme. But not everyone chooses to celebrate it with roses and boxes of chocolate.
After doing a little research, we found plenty of traditions that we wish we could import into our own Valentine's Day practices. See, love—not Hallmark—really does make the world go 'round! Here are five ways Valentine's Day is celebrated (for singles) around the world:
In Malaysia, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, women write their phone numbers on oranges before throwing them into the closest river with hopes that the man of their dreams will pick one up. Fruit vendors often collect the oranges, which are considered a lucky fruit, and resell them at the market—phone numbers and all! Can't you see a romantic comedy flick starting with a guy finding a "call me" orange in his bag of groceries?
For Brazilians, Dia dos Namorados (Day of Lovers) is June 12. On the eve before the holiday, women write the names of various crushes on folded-up pieces of paper (MASH, anyone?). Whichever name they pick from the pile on the following day will be the one they marry (or at least date!). Other South American countries practice the Dia del amor y la amistad (Love and Friendship Day), where people are randomly assigned a partner to whom they give a secret gift—à la Secret Santa.
Scotland also has a party game for V-Day! Each single person writes his or her name on a piece of paper, which is then thrown into two hats—one with the men's names and the other with the women's names. Everyone draws a name, and the couples pair off for the evening. Since it's unlikely that the names will actually match, the man has to stick with the woman who picked his name—regardless of whose name he picked. Interesting!
France had a curious (now banned) custom called une loterie d'amour where single men and women gathered in houses facing each other. They would pair off by yelling out to each other, and if the man didn't like his Valentine in the end, he could desert her in the middle of the day. At night, the deserted women would make a bonfire together to burn pictures of and curse the men who had scorned them. Eventually, the French government shut down the practice for its maliciousness. Um, yeah ...
5. South Korea
In South Korea, the 14th day of every month is dedicated to an aspect of love. For example, May is Rose Day, October is Wine Day and December is Hug Day. On February 14, women give chocolate to men, and on March 14 (also called "White Day"), men give candy—not chocolate—to women. People who didn't receive anything on either day get together on April 14, AKA Black Day, to eat black bean noodles (jajanmyeon) and lament their singleness. Genius!
Which tradition do you like the best? Know of any others? Let us know in the comments below!