Valentines Around the World

Article by: Julianna Ching

Photographs by: Amanda Vestergaard

ISM is thriving with excitement this week, in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, our annual holiday of love. For florists, stationary shops, and chocolatiers this is the time of year to make easy money this, but in others cultures, love is celebrated differently. For example, although candy is also given on February 14 in Korea, this is traditionally done so by women.  Men have their chance to give presents on March 14, during a holiday called White Day.  For those who are single, there is yet another holiday on April 14, called Black Day, named after the black Jajang noodles friends eat together to celebrate their non-romantic relationships.  Additionally, Koreans commemorate Pepero Day on November 11, when people give chocolate-coated Pepero sticks to their special someone.

DSC_0046In China, only young couples celebrate Valentine’s Day, since China has its own holiday to celebrate love, called the Qixi Festival. The festival is held on the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar, in honor of an old mythin which a cow herder and a weaver maid fall in love.  Traditionally, young women put blossoms into the water used for washing their face in order to have fair, glowing skin during this day. They go to temples and burn paper offerings, as well as set up colorful shrines for the couple in the legend.  Needlework and weaving competitions also occur for women, in honor of the weaver girl in the legend.

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Although different countries celebrate Valentine’sDay in different ways, the ideas behind the holiday are the same, making it a holiday everyone looks forward to.  All around the world, Valentine’s Day is a mix of excitement, anxiety, and of course, love.

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