Valentine’s customs spread worldwide



    Valentine’s Day is an American holiday, but many countries celebrate the day using the traditions of the United States, and other countries have similar traditions or a similar holiday.

    In Russia, the closest thing to Valentine’s Day is Women’s Day on March 8, said Edwin Wells, a sophomore from Vacaville, Calif., majoring in human biology, who was in Russia serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    “Men bring chocolate to the women,” he said. “We did it because it was tradition.”

    Wells also said that the women would then kiss the men, and they had to run away so they wouldn’t get kissed.

    In some countries, such as Brazil and Italy, Valentine’s Day is only celebrated by couples: those married, engaged or dating.

    Ilona Klein, associate professor of Italian, said couples send little chocolates called “baci,” which means “kisses.”

    Cinzia Noble, senior lecturer of Italian, said that couples go to dinner or give each other a little gift, usually gold or silver jewelry.

    Brazilians also give little gifts, said Kathryn Wells, Edwin Wells’ sister and a senior history major. The gift isn’t from a secret admirer with flowers, but would be more like a birthday present, she said.

    Brazil’s Valentine’s Day is June 12.

    In France and Germany, there are lots of flowers and candy sales, but Valentine cards aren’t given out, according to Hans Kelling, professor of German.

    Valentine’s Day originated from St. Valentine of the Catholic Church, Masters said. “Every day (in France) there’s a saint for that day,” he said.

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