We sat down with TLG students and asked them about Valentine’s Day traditions in their home countries. Students we talked to hailed from Morocco, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil.
The friendly gathering was part of TLG’s Around the World initiative, which celebrates international holidays and traditions from all over the world to discover different cultures.
Middle Eastern Valentine’s Day traditions
Business English students Hiba and Ameen from Morocco and Nazir from Saudi Arabia shared with us that Valentine’s Day in the Middle East though celebrated, is a small-scale occasion and is a festivity much preferred by females.
To celebrate the day of romance with their other half, Arabs like to pay a visit to the cinema or enjoy a candlelight dinner at a fancy restaurant.
Valentine’s Day in Brazil
Leila, who in London to study General English, is from Brazil and gave us some insight into St Antony’s day which is celebrated on 13 June when Brazilians enjoy a big feast. The day before – 12 June – is Valentine’s Day or Day of the Enamoured and the two festivities are celebrated as one.
In Brazilian tradition, the saint is known for being a good matchmaker and so Brazilians turn to him in their search for love as there are known to be love prayers associated with him which can bless romantic relationships.
Valentine’s Day in South Korea
Student Tong from South Korea studying the IELTS Preparation course shared with us that Valentine’s Day in South Korea is largely only celebrated by the younger generation. However, South Korea differs in that it has two Valentine’s days.
The celebration on 14 February is when females give their other half chocolates and other sweet treats. However, a month later, on 14 March – known as White Day - men return the favour and give their female partners candy. The day is called White Day as traditionally white gifts are given on the day such as white chocolate or white clothing. For White Day, there is the ‘rule of three’, where the idea is that the cost of items given on White Day must be three times higher than gifts received on Valentine’s Day.
We discovered from our group that the traditional colours of love – red and pink – are universal as are the typical gifts given of chocolates, jewellery, and fragrance.
The group agreed that it’s the little things that matter; extravagant gifts are not required to feel loved by a special one. They also felt you don’t need to wait until Valentine’s Day to show someone you love them.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day we’ve prepared a video for you featuring TLG students saying ‘I love you’ and ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ in their native languages. You can view this on TLG's Facebook page.
For more cultural awareness posts, keep your eye on the TLG blog.