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Thursday, June 11, 2009


Valetine´s Day (Dia dos Namorados) is celebrated on June 12 in Brazil. In many other countries in the world - including the United States and the United Kingdom - the celebration is on February 12.

Let´s take a look at how other cultures celebrate this most romantic of days:

In Japan ladies give gifts of 'giri-choco' (chocolate of obligation) to all the men in their lives including male family members, colleagues and the boss. One month later, on White Day the gentlemen reciprocate by giving a gift of 'sanbai-gaeshi', or 'triple return' as the value should be triple that of his giri-choco gift.

In India the phenomenon of the St Valentine's Day celebration is a relatively recent one. Over the last decade or so has it grown to fever-pitch, with young men declaring their affections in Bollywood hero style, Valentine-themed TV and radio shows abound and shops gear-up to the ensuing commercial onslaught. Yet celebrations of love are nothing new. Kamadeva is the Hindu god of love and legend goes that this handsome deity rides a golden parrot, and from a bow made of sugar cane fires flower-tipped arrows of desire.

In Poland, Valentine's Day is another Saint's day, also known as name day (imieniny). The Polish celebrate the day of their namesake saints, in a similar way the British celebrate a birthday, with cakes and gifts. Your saint’s day is generally more significant than your birthday. It’s also much easier to find out someone’s saints day than try to remember their birthday!

Zimbabweans approach it as a day for celebrating their culture by holding seminars talks and plays to address social problems. There are even cooking competitions. These activities are followed by street carnivals and processions. It is very much a community affair.

The Chileans are most famous for starting the craze of Valentines Day smooching competitions, which is fast becoming a fixture in many cities including Singapore and Manila. The record for the most couples smooching in one gathering has become a hotly-contested competition between Santiago and Manila!

In China, the equivalent of Valentine's Day is Qi Qiao Ji (or Qi Xi – Night of Sevens. According to legend, the seventh daughter of the Emperor of Heaven, Zhi Nu, fell in love with a cow herder and they married without permission. The Emperor separated them, sending his daughter to live on one star (Vega) and her lover to another (Altair). But once a year – on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month – all the magpies in the world are said to form a bridge between the two stars so they can meet. Traditionally on this day a garland of fruit and flowers is placed in front of every house and any single or newly married woman must make an offering to the gods to give them lasting beauty. In some parts of China, single women make offerings to Zhi Nu in the hope finding suitable husbands.

So no matter how it is celebrated and where, a day of romance is something close to everyone’s hearts around the world.
Have a nice Valentine´s Day.
Milton França.
From with adaptations by Milton França.
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