"There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God's finger on man's shoulder."


Family Life

"There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God's finger on man's shoulder."

- Charles Morgan

 

Though some Christians may lament that Valentine's Day has become somewhat corporate and commercialized, it is still very possible to find encouragement and motivation in the fact that, behind all of the chocolate and flowers, Valentine's Day is essentially all about love. As Charles Morgan tells us in the quote above, love is a central driving factor in the spiritual life of Christian people. Though this holiday has lost much of its connection with the Christian saint who initially inspired it, it nevertheless serves as a yearly reminder to slow down and take a moment to appreciate just how magical love really is.

 

Valentine's Day is typically celebrated in the West by expressing your affection for others, usually romantic partners. It may involve cards, gifts, chocolates, flowers, candy, a romantic evening date, or even a weekend getaway.

 

But have you ever wondered if other parts of the world do things a little bit differently? Well, now is your chance to find out! Here are six countries where Valentine's Day is celebrated in its own unique way.

 

1) China

 

Valentine's Day in China is not celebrated on February 14th because this date falls too close to Chinese New Year. Rather, China celebrates what is known as the Qixi Festival, which falls on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. This is a date which, in Chinese mythology, commemorates the meeting of the mythological cowherd and weaver girl.

 

2) Finland

 

Finland has a nice spin on Valentine's Day in which it is more about celebrating friendship rather than romantic love. In fact, the day itself is not even known as Valentine's Day, but rather "Friend's Day." Friends use this opportunity to send each other cards and gifts.

 

3) India

 

Valentine's Day has been growing in popularity in India over the years, but has also been met with much hostility from religious and political conservatives. Despite this, many young people have taken to celebrating Valentine's in much the same way as it is celebrated in the West. However, unique celebrations can be found in the state of West Bengal, where Valentine's Day corresponds to a festival celebrating the goddess known as Saraswati.

 

4) Iran

 

Valentine's Day celebrations in Iran have managed to retain some aspects of a traditional festival known as Sepandarmazgan. Sepandarmazgan tends to fall around the same time as Valentine's Day. It is about expressing love and affection for wives and mothers.

 

5) Japan

 

Japanese Valentine's Day is almost exclusively about chocolate, without the usual focus on other gifts such as cards or sweets. Another interesting twist is that the practice of giving chocolate is usually only done by women. However, men are expected to give even more valuable gifts on March 14, which is known as "reply day."

 

6) Mexico

 

Valentine's Day in Mexico is, like the rest of North America, inspired by the legend of St. Valentine. It is a time for lovers to exchange gifts and show their affection. However, like in Finland, Valentine's Day in Mexico is also a time to celebrate friendship. This ensures that everyone, even those who happen to be single at the time, get a share of the love.

 

If you've been itching to travel and you are able to get away for Valentine's Day, then why not go somewhere that does things a little differently?  You will get to see what it's like to celebrate friendship rather than romantic love, or you might even get to experience an entirely different festival altogether!

 

But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you:  to love the Lord you God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul."  Amen