5 twists to the Valentine’s festivity around the world

Last week we took a look at speed dating on Valentine’s Day, but if you want to twist things up a little bit, read below to get the gist of how international Cardiffians celebrate the festival in their home countries. Some of them will surprise you.

1. Japan – Valentine’s Day is a treat for male only

Westerners might spend Valentine’s Day indulging their partners with reciprocated love. But in Japan, female would not get their return until March 14 every year.


Reo Tanaka, male, PhD student, said:

“We draw a very clear line between Valentine’s Day (Feb 14) and White Day (March 14). Valentine’s Day is traditionally the day for girls to express their admiration to boys and White Day is the opposite. Most of the Japanese stick tight to this rule. Usually girls will present handmade chocolates, or buy some, to show their feelings. Interestingly, I know some impatient girls find that one-month wait a real torture, like my wife!”

2. South Korea – Black noodles on Black Day

Like Japanese, South Koreans celebrate Valentine’s Day and White Day too. These two days are basically designed for couples, but April 14 is specially dedicated to singles in South Korea.

Black Day, South Korea

Sarah Hwang, female, traveler in Cardiff, said:

“If you’re single, unfortunately or not, April 14 is a day specially for you. We call it ‘Black Day’. People who haven’t receive anything from the previous two months will eat black noodles, that’s ‘Jajangmyeon’ alone or with company. I wouldn’t say it’s very sad though, it gives Koreans a good reason to hang out with friends.”

Watch below to learn more about Black Day.

Trivia: The 14th of every month is a holiday in South Korea

3. Thailand – Loi Krathong in November (or ‘Water Lantern Festival’)

November is the month for Valentine’s in Thailand, not February! Get your date right!

June Punyawong, female, undergraduate student, said:

“We tend to spend Valentine’s Day by eating chocolates and decent meals. We consider Loi Krathong in November our Valentine’s festival. The exact date varies every year as it depends on the lunar calendar. Couples will create a little boat-of-luck with banana tree trunks and their leaves. They will then light a candle at the middle of it and put the boat on the water. It is very romantic and picturesque.”

4. Saudi Arabia – Anti-Valentine’s Day

Not every country is a big fan of Valentine’s Day, and Saudi Arabia has to absolutely ban it.

Assaf, male, unemployed, said:

“Of course we don’t have upscale events. Saudi Arabians have to celebrate the day in secret, because it’s religiously wrong in Islam. Religious police would patrol all the shops to ensure no one is selling anything red or heart-shaped. This applies to every couple, married or not. Some couples would still celebrate behind closed doors even though it’s illicit.”
Read BBC’s coverage on the banning of Valentine’s Day in more countries.

5. Uganda – Market filled with vendors selling roses and cards, but not chocolates

Mark Tugume, male, MA student, said:

“Our street market will be filled with the Valentine’s scent on that day. Vendors will be selling roses, cards, everything red, but seldom would we see chocolates. I guess it’s because Ugandans would trust supermarkets over street vendors when it comes to edible products. Work goes on but there are a few people who dress up in the traditional red and black attire whether for work that day or a date. Ugandans are also keen on attending functions relating to the Valentine’s theme.”