Stumped on Valentine’s gifts? Take some ideas from around the world…

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching - do you have gifts for your loved ones yet? Many countries that celebrate Valentine's Day typically exchange chocolates, flowers, and love notes. However, celebrations of love take different forms around the world. If you want to be more creative this year, take some inspiration from these 6 culturally-unique celebrations of love around the world.  


"Wooden folk spoons" by Aviavlad

The most romantic day of the year in Wales is January 25th - Saint Dwynwyn’s day. Based in Welsh folklore from the 4th century, the day is dedicated to lovers. Couples take walks on the beach with their partners, celebrate with dinner and exchange customized engraved “lovespoons,” consistent with Welsh tradition.

South Korea

On February 14th in South Korea, only women bestow chocolates on their loved ones. Three weeks later on “White Day,” men are expected to return the favor threefold -- spending three times as much as their partner did on a variety of reciprocal gifts. For those not in relationships, “Black Day” is a time to partake in traditional black noodles called jajangmyeon to either mourn or to celebrate their singlehood.


"Forget me not flowers" by pixel2013

Denmark’s unique Valentine’s tradition expects men to send joke letters called gaekkebrev to their romantic interest. These are creative, often rhyming poems written on paper snowflakes and signed anonymously. They usually include small white flowers called snowdrops (pictured above).


"Family" by Leley Noronha

In February, Brazil is usually preoccupied with upcoming Carnival, so the country celebrates “Dia dos Namorados,” on June 12th. Translated as “Lover’s Day,” the holiday celebrations, large festivals and gift giving are not limited to couples, but extends to friends and family as well.


"7595054470_91cf8ffe8d_o" by

February 14th in Bulgaria is also Winemaker’s Day, so the community customarily tends to the vines, waters the soil with wine and celebrates with fresh bread, fried chicken and more wine.


“Val Day” is a huge celebration in Ghana, and the feasts on this day almost rival those on Christmas or Easter. Ghana’s National Chocolate Day intentionally coincides with Valentine’s Day in order to promote the domestic cacao industry as well as tourism.

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About the author

Channing Fisher.

Channing first witnessed the ability of entrepreneurship to empower people while studying Spanish in Guatemala. Throughout college, she became interested in microfinance while working in business development in the Netherlands and studying the effects of tourism on Caribbean economies. After graduating from Principia College in 2018 with degrees in Political Science and Business, she began work for a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit and later found Kiva. She's passionate about communicating and sharing the work done at Kiva and elsewhere in the international development space.