Love is in the air! Whether you’re a huge fan of romantic gestures on Valentine’s Day or think it’s all just a clever ploy to sell greeting cards and heart-shaped chocolates, there’s no denying that everybody loves love.
As one of the most powerful emotions we can feel, love has the ability to breeze past the obstacles of language and culture. The way we express our love for others can vary across the world. Here are some of the most interesting ways lovers around the world express their affection for each other!
Dragons, Books and Roses
While St. George’s Day is a time for national celebration here in England, the dragon-slaying saint is associated with love and romance in some regions of Spain, such as Catalonia and Aragon. Every year on April 23, Catalan couples express their love by gifting roses and books to each other in a tradition which stretches back to the Middle Ages.
France’s Fierce Lottery of Love
In France, it was traditional for groups of prospective partners to participate in a so-called ‘Lottery of Love’. If they didn’t like their original pairing, men were able to leave for a different partner. Those not lucky enough to be chosen would then build a huge bonfire and burn the photos of the men who had abandoned them. The practice got so out of hand that the French government eventually had to ban the tradition!
A big win for the chocolate companies!
This one may be more of a marketing ploy than a true romantic gesture! In Japan, women are encouraged to give chocolates to their male friends and acquaintances on Valentine’s Day, with particularly fancy goodies gifted only to their romantic interest. Men return the favour a month later on March 14, when white chocolate is traditionally given to partners.
Carving spoons to share the love
Although plenty of Welsh couples also celebrate Valentine’s Day, the country has its own romantic occasion in the form of St. Dwynwen’s Day, which is celebrated on January 25 each year. St. Dwynwen was the Welsh patron saint of lovers, and couples celebrate her by exchanging traditional Welsh love spoons as a sign of their affection.
Who needs love when you’ve got noodles?
In South Korea, the fourteenth of every month has romantic connotations, with gift-giving a regular way to express affection. All this romance can unsurprisingly get a bit much for single people, who get together to commiserate on April 14 by dressing all in black and eating plenty of black-bean noodles, a popular comfort food in the region.
Atlas plays Cupid
A few years back, we had one of our most romantic translations ever, worthy of a Hollywood movie. Joanne was set to marry her beloved, Eduardo, in Bolivia. She came to our Atlas office to organise getting official certificates translated and notarised into Latin American Spanish. Click here to hear how Atlas saved the day!