Feb 19, 2021 | LIFE | By Mahnoor Rehman | Illustration by Jubilee Rivera-Hernandez

Although Valentine’s Day originated from ancient Roman culture, the impact and importance of this day have grown to the global scale. It is celebrated in hundreds of cultures throughout the world where people express their appreciation for their loved ones.

In France, love letters are considered one of the most significant expressions of affection. Ever since the first Valentine’s Day card was written in France, people have written and decorated cards for their friends, family, and significant others in celebration of the holiday. Cards are handmade with poetry or heartfelt messages written on them. Alongside this, people present their loved ones with chocolates and flowers.

The government carries out humble initiatives in the Philippines on Valentine’s Day. It is one of the most popular holidays in the country and a lot of couples tend to marry in February at events sponsored by the Filipino government. As the Filipino culture is highly impacted by aspects of Christianity, marriage is considered an extremely sacred act to be done on a special occasion. What other day is better to embrace the love and commitment with your soulmate than Valentine’s Day?

In Romania, Valentine’s day is actually not celebrated on Feb. 14. Another holiday, known as Dragobete, “a day for lovers,” is celebrated on Feb. 24. The traditions focus on the expression of love in terms of attention and presence instead of material objects such as roses, cards, or gifts. Some believe that proposing to your potential partner and getting engaged on Dragobete will bring luck and blessings in the future. It is an old and traditional holiday for the Romanian people that reminds them of the unconditional love they have to offer for the people in their lives.

England celebrates Valentine’s Day by offering pastries and sweets to one another. Traditionally, people get heart-shaped cakes for their spouses to show their love and appreciation. Flowers, mostly roses, are considered metaphors for undying love that one has for one’s significant other. Usually, red roses are given to one’s special date on Valentine’s Day, and white and yellow roses are given to friends and family members.

Valentine’s Day in South Africa is celebrated by going out with one’s significant other to make sure that the holiday is filled with love and joy. In some locations, the week of Valentine’s Day includes long festivals with people visiting from different places. People exchange cards and gifts, and a lot of younger women are seen with their lover’s name written on their sleeves.

Valentine’s Day is considered one of the most wonderful, pure and joyful holidays in the world. The exchange of gifts as an expression of admiration is a value that is shared by most cultures. It is also becoming more common to write love letters for friends and family rather than just one’s significant other. Every culture has its own unique way of celebrating the day to show how much they cherish the presence of their loved ones in their lives.

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