The 14th February is fast approaching, it is time to prepare yourself for the overwhelming expression of love. Strangely, the story of Saint Valentine is unknown, nonetheless, this day commemorates him through courtly love! The tradition has spread around the world with different countries adapting customs to reinforce romance or appreciate affection. So, this Valentine’s day take a voyage around the world to celebrate love with a twist.
Exchanging flowers has become the ultimate sign of love on Valentine’s Day. Roses are bought, by the dozen, to impress loved ones. Florists flourish on this day creating Valentine’s edition bouquets to lure customers in. Men stand with flowers in hand everywhere you turn, waiting to woo their woman. This year, swap roses for snowdrops in line with the Danish custom. You may even find they are easier to get hold of and kinder on the wallet… certainly less in demand !
The custom of card exchange comes from France. While imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415, Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife and the tradition of cards was born. Today, thousands of people write cards to loved ones, an estimated 1 billion cards are sent in the United States and 25 million in the UK. But, in South Africa, women pin the name of loved one on their sleeve epitomising ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’ and often revealing their secret admiration for someone. Even more romantic, in the Philippines, lovers exchange vows instead of cards. There are mass mariage ceremonies and renewal of vows in public spaces: certainly taking Valentine’s Day to another level !
Chocolate hearts and sweet treats are often gifted alongside cards and flowers. Italians give chocolate coated hazelnuts called Baci Perugina accompanied by poetic quotes in several languages. But, in South Korea, the 14th of February is when women are expected to woo their partners with chocolates and flowers. A month later women receive this special treatment, on 14th March, men must up the game with a gift to their girl. So, if you want 2 days of romance, follow the South Korean example.
A common custom is to share a romantic, often candle lit, dinner with your romantic partner. Restaurants are filled to the brim with couples falling into the trap of overpriced set menus. They offer little privacy, are too loud to hear each other and certainly don’t create the intimate moment that romantics hope for. So, avoid disappointment this year: book a Private Chef who can wow you both with a Valentine’s meal to remember.