Scotland: On Valentine’s Day, a festival is held with an equal number of unmarried men and unmarried women. They write their name on a piece of paper and put in it a hat. Both the men and women pull a name out of the hat. It is rare that the names will match up, so it is usually expected that the man will partner with the woman that pulled his name. After the names are drawn and the couples are paired, the man gives a gift to the woman. The woman then pins the man’s name to her sleeve and they go to a dance. At times, a wedding ceremony will take place after the dance.
Brazil: Brazilians celebrate the day of love, Dia do Namorados on June 12. On the eve before the holiday, women write the names of various crushes on folded-up pieces of paper. They throw the paper into a pile and the one they pick the next day is the one they marry.
Malaysia: Their day of love is on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. The women of Malaysia write their phone numbers on oranges and throw them into the closet river in hope that that the man of their dreams will find their oranges. Fruit vendors often find the oranges and sell them at the market, phone number and all!
Japan: Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 AND on March 14! On the first date, the woman gives a gift to the man. On the second date, also known as White Day, the man has to return the gift to the woman. Since the woman actually chooses her own gift, they often choose chocolate. Most Japanese women believe that store-bought chocolate is not a gift of true love, so they usually make their own.
Other countries had customs that are no longer practiced. One that I found particularly interesting was France’s “une loterie de amour.” Singe men and women used to gather in houses facing each other. They would yell out to each other then they would pair up. If the man wound up not liking his Valentine, he could desert her in the middle of the day. Later that night the deserted women would make a bonfire together and burn the pictures and curse the men that scorned them. This custom has now been banned!
Here in Livonia, we have several ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day! There will be an UnValentine’s Show Friday night at 8:00 at the Trinity House Theatre. You might also attend the Cupid’s Corner Valentine’s Event at the Town & Country Antiques Mall that runs through Tuesday, February 14. So as to not leave out Daddy, there is the Daddy/Daughter Dance on February 15 at 7:00 at the Redford Community Center.