Flowers, candy, and dining out are common forms of acknowledging Valentine's Day. Check out these 3 countries that have their own unique ways of recognizing the day of love.
1) South Korea: Constructing & Reconstructing
South Korea defies and celebrates this tradition in multiple ways. First there are two 'Valentine's Days' and one non-Valentine's Day called "Black Day".
Second, the gender norm is flipped around because the women are the first to pour out a full treatment of chocolate, toys, cologne and other gifts for their guys. And third, South Korea doesn't fail to acknowledge single people and "celebrates" this with a designated date, social custom (food & clothes).
Three dates for 'Valentines Day' are recognized. For couples, February 14th is the month women shower their men with presents; March 14th is "White Day" when men get to return the favor however elaborate; and April 14th - "Black Day" - is when singletons either facetiously or perhaps seriously, "mourn" their singleness by wearing all black. On this very dark day, singles get together and eat Black Bean Noodles.
2) Israel: History & Narrative
The romantic couple's way in Israel of honoring a day of love, Tu Be'Av, is not only with the typical gift-giving of heart-shaped treats, flowers, and dining in restaurants, but to acknowledge a narrative in Jewish history that makes a wonderful statement on the blindness or neutrality of pairing up in love.
On Tu Be'Av, in Jewish tradition, the daughters of Israel would go out in all white clothes that were borrowed. They would dance on the fields and vineyards, and men would go and find their love. The women wore borrowed clothes all in white so that no one could tell who was poor and who was rich.
Moreover, Tu Be'Av became a time to be associated with forgiveness and bonding due to events that came afterwards, and is known to be "the day of love between God and the Jewish people, and human beings."
3) Czech Republic: Kissing & Poetry
Czechs are perhaps the most traditional in the "romantic" aspect of Valentine's Day. Rather than a more consumerist practice of conveying things with, well things, love language is delivered in nature & poetry. For Czech Republicans, Valentine's Day - translated as "Love Day" - is celebrated on a poetically-suited date of May 1st - a day and month connected to love and romance in honor of a poet who wrote a love poem titled, "May".
"May" by romantic poet Karel Hynek Macha, might be recited before locking lips under a cherry tree. The woman must be kissed by her love under a cherry tree, as this is believed to bring her vitality, good health, and beauty until the next year.
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