Love is a year-round affair

Do you cringe when you see a Valentine’s Day ad popping up on your screen? You aren’t alone.

Many people see Valentine's Day as an overly commercially-driven day where businesses dictate how love should be demonstrated – buying overpriced roses and chocolate, followed by a big-ticket dinner. The truth is, love is a year-round affair, and people in different parts of the world find love and celebrate love in unique ways. Here are five of the most fascinating.

1) Chap Goh Meh (The First Full Moon Festival) in Penang, Malaysia

On the tropical island of Penang, Malaysia, the first full moon in the lunar calendar marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebration, and is also a day for singles to find romance. On this night, unmarried women gather at Fort Cornwallis to throw tangerines into the sea with the hope that their true love will pick them up. Though the tangerines float on the water, they all look the same; perhaps this is why modern single ladies have opted to write their mobile phone number or email address on the tangerines before tossing them in. Technology has certainly helped with romance in Penang.

Find love with a tangerineFind love with a tangerine
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2) La Diada de Sant Jordi (Lover's Day) in Barcelona, Spain

One of the most celebrated events in Barcelona, Lover's Day is held on 23 April and commemorates the city’s patron saint, Sant Jordi (St George), who is also the patron saint of lovers in Catalonia. The celebration is reminiscent of Valentine’s Day but with a twist: men give women roses, while women give men a book. The best place to celebrate this event is along La Rambla, which transforms into a massive flower market and book stall.

3) White Day, Japan and South Korea

Taking place exactly one month after Valentine’s Day, White Day was first celebrated by the Japanese on 14 March 1978. Since then, this event has gained much popularity and spread to neighbouring South Korea as well. On this day, men who received gifts from women a month before are expected to return the favour with a box of chocolates. White chocolate is often used, hence the name White Day.

White chocolate is a favourite on White Day in Japan and South KoreaWhite chocolate is a favourite on White Day in Japan and South Korea
M Gucci / Thinkstock

4) Dia dos Namorados (Lover’s Day), Brazil

The eve of St Anthony’s Day, 12 June, is a day of romance in Brazil and couples exchange gifts, flowers, chocolates and cards. St Anthony is the patron saint of marriage. As you’re in Brazil, you can expect good-spirited parades and carnivals to take place across towns and cities.

Carnivals take place across towns and cities in Brazil on Dia dos Namorados (Lover’s Day)Carnivals take place across towns and cities in Brazil on Dia dos Namorados (Lover’s Day)
m-gucci / Thinkstock

5) Dragobete, Romania

Dragobete is the Guardian of Love in Romania who also signifies the arrival of spring on 24 February. Young men and women put on their best clothes and go out in groups, searching for spring flowers to make love spells. In Southern Romania, there is a game called ‘racer’ where the girls run down to the village with the boys chasing after them; if a boy catches a girl he likes he can kiss her openly. The kiss is often a playful display of engagement between the two, though often such engagements become real.

Love is not a factory-manufactured product that is stamped with a specific ‘best by’ date. It is a sacred emotion and is celebrated throughout the year. Enjoy your day.

Dragobete is an important tradition in RomaniaDragobete is an important tradition in Romania
www.ilovemaramures.com

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