Celebrating love

Valentine’s Day can be celebrated in a multitude of ways around the globe

In the United States, the day is associated with chocolates and flowers. Millions of dollars are spent on  gifts to your loved ones such as chocolates, roses and candy. We go out on dates, and celebrate through parties.

In China, they celebrate Double Seventh Festival or Young Girls’ Festival.

There’s a legend involving an orphan and the Emperor’s lovely youngest daughter. Once upon a time, the orphan Niu Lang lived with his siblings. He owned an old Ox that he cared for by himself.

Supposedly the Ox was actually an immortal who was cast down to Earth from Heaven for a punishment. One day the Ox said to Niu Lang, “I like you. If you wish to get married then go to the river.”

As he arrived, he noticed the seven heavenly daughters of the Emperor that were on Earth to take a bath. Niu Lang was entranced by the youngest daughter’s beauty, Zhi Nu. He stole her fairy clothes, so she could not travel back to the Heavens with her sisters. He promised he would return the clothes for her hand in marriage.

Zhi Nu agreed and they lived happily for several years and had two children. Eventually the Ox informed that his last day is near, and told the happily married man to keep his hide. The Emperor starts to miss his daughter, and sent  the grandmother to retrieve her from Earth. The grandmother succeeded, but as the seventh princess was going up he flew with his wife’s fairy clothes and carried his two children with him. To keep them from meeting; the grandmother created the milky way to keep them separated.

Every year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month; it is believed that magpies form a path with their wings to let them meet on that one day. With that being said, their celebrations kind of are based on that myth. Zhi Nu was always at the Vega star, while Niu Lang with his two children were at the Altair star. Singles and Lovers visit the Temple of Matchmaker to pray for love, happiness, and their possible marriage. The festival is also known as the Daughter’s Festival.  “Chinese girls always wished to learn a good handcrafting skill like the weaving maid.

On the night of the Chinese Valentine’s Day, unmarried girls offer prayers to the Weaving Maid star and seek blessings to become smarter. When the star Vega is high up in the sky, girls perform a test by putting a needle on the water surface. If the needle doesn’t sink, it’s a sign of girl’s maturity and smartness indicating she is eligible to find a husband. Girl who passes the test may ask for any one wish,” according to Stvalentinesday.org.

They may also celebrate by decorating a bull’s horn to protect from catastrophe. This year it falls on August 2.

In Germany celebrations include gifts, chocolates and pigs. They believe that pigs symbolize luck and lust.

France also gives gifts to loved ones. “There’s a little village called St. Valentin, in Indre, in the central Val de Loire Region which makes the most of the February event, celebrating with an annual festival taking place from February 12th to 14th,” gofrance.about.com says.

El Salvador and Dominican Republic play games with friends and families. El Salvador play the game “Amigo Secreto.” The Dominican Republic play “Angelito.” They rip paper into pieces and write another name whether its a boy or girl. Then everybody participating give their “angelito” a gift.

Japan dedicates two days for love. On February 14 females give chocolates to males. March 14 its switched, but the males give jewelry and chocolates.

People in Denmark tend to trade love letters that are meant to be comical and not so much serious. The sender will often write a rhyme for their beloved, and they sign their name with dots. If the lover guesses the name correctly, then they get an egg on Easter. These cards are known as “Gaekkebrev.” They also send white flowers called “Snowdrops” to their loved ones.

Even though most places around the world celebrate with gifts; there are still some interesting traditions going on.