There are many different traditions and interpretations of Valentine’s Day throughout the world.
The common thread in all countries is the emotional longing for a loved one, the giving of gifts and/or making romantic gestures. We all know the film ‘Love Actually’, the pottery scene in the ‘Ghost’, the ‘Milk Tray’ advert, Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Edward the VIII’s abdication of the English throne to marry his beloved Wallis Simpson, in December 1936.
However, what happens on Valentine’s Day, throughout the world?
In England in the 1700’s, on the eve of Valentine’s day single women in England used to place/pin five bay leaves, one at each corner of their pillows and one in the center, with the belief that it would bring them dreams of their future husbands. In Norfolk, along with traditional Valentine’s Day customs of cards and flowers and romance, they have a Santa Clause that goes by the name ‘Jack Valentine’ and sometimes known as Old Father Valentine or even Old Mother Valentine.
In France, dubbed one of the most romantic countries in the world, there is a strange Valentine’s Day tradition. Their most popular tradition was called “une loterie d’amour” that translates to “drawing for love”. This practice involved single men and women of all ages to enter houses that faced opposite each other and take turns calling out to one another until they were paired off. If the men didn’t like their match, they would simply leave the woman for another man to call. As part of the tradition, the women that didn’t get matched up, got together for a big ceremonial bonfire in which they tossed pictures and objects of the men who rejected them, whilst swearing and hurling curses at the opposite sex. This tradition truly exemplified the phrase “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!”, so much so, that French government officially banned the practice all together because of how rowdy and uncontrollable the whole event usually got. Not very romantic, though.
The Welsh celebrate ‘St. Dwynwen’s Day’ (the patron saint of lovers) on January 25th, which is their equivalent to Valentine’s Day. Legend goes that Dwynwen, daughter of King Brychan Brycheinog lived in Anglesey, in the 5th century and fell in love with a young man named Maelon. As all legendary love stories go, tragedy struck when the two were unable to be together (for reasons not entirely known, as the word of mouth story varies – some say she was raped by Maelon, while others state her father disapproved of the union and had her betrothed to someone else). Whatever the reasons, she was said to be distraught and fled into the woods where she encountered an angel who gave her a potion to cool her love for Maelon. The potion however, did more than just that, Maelon was turned into a solid block of ice. Further distraught by this icy addition to her problem, Dwynwen prayed and God (some versions say the angel) granted her 3 wishes. She is said to have wished for Maelon’s release from his icy tomb, secondly, that God watches over all true lovers and helps them realize their dreams and hopes or guides them through their sadness and love, and lastly, that she never marries. After being granted her wishes Dwynwen retreated to a life of dedication to the Church as a nun on the Island of Llanddwyn.
On this Welsh Valentine’s Day, it is customary to gift love-spoons, an age-old tradition that got started when Welsh men (possibly originating among sailors), would carve intricately decorated spoons of wood and would present them to a lady that they were interested in courting or marrying. The designs they carved on the spoon handles were symbolic too. For example - Keys would signify a man’s heart, wheels his hard work and beads, his preferred number of offspring and so on. This tradition is carried on even today, as men gift their lady’s spoons.
In Japan, it’s all about spoiling your man on Valentine’s day and not the other way around like in most Western cultures. Japanese women are usually said to be reserved and shy when it comes to expressing their affections with lovey-dovey gestures. However, on this day, the women are in the forefront presenting the men (and sometimes even female friends) in their lives gifts (mostly chocolates), to express either their love, courtesy or social obligation.
Women in South Korea also spoil their men with chocolates on Valentine’s Day. In return, they receive gifts on ‘White Day’ from men in a similar fashion as in Japan.
In Taiwan, the Japanese/South Korean tradition of Valentine’s Day and White Day is reversed in the sense that, men gift women chocolates and gifts on Valentine’s Day whereas the women reciprocate and return the favor by gifting men chocolates on White Day.
We do not sell chocolates at Brilliant Wall art, but we do sell an extensive range of Valentine’s gifts, contemporary and quality decorative metal wall art and home accessories, for your loved one, at the lowest possible prices. We call it our “HEART ART”.
Brilliant Wall Art is the Midlands premier wall art and home accessory specialist. Based in Birmingham, Brilliant Wall Art have been providing decorative metal wall art and home accessories since 2006 with our primary goal being customer satisfaction.
We have Valentine’s gifts for him, and Valentine’s gifts for her, love gifts and of course our heart art.
Please look at these lovely Valentine’s gifts here...
I think my favourite and the one for my Valentine, is the reasonably priced Love Doves Garden Wind Vane Spinner. It is a wonderful design to add movement to the garden and rotates and rocks in the breeze or wind. It is constructed from metal, is a freestanding garden spike and balance arm sculpture. It has an aged shabby chic brown green finish designed to weather and become part of the garden.
If you have any questions about our metal wall art and home accessories, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
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