Valentine’s Day events and traditions

A person being handed a present wrapped in a red bow

Valentine’s Day is a time for romance, for showing a special someone how much they mean to you. All around the world, people celebrate the legacy of St Valentine with gifts, sentiment, and special events to mark the most romantic holiday. Prepare to fall in love with these beautiful traditions and events around the world.

Valentines Day in France 

France is the epicenter of romance, not just in Europe, but in the world. There is no country that is more associated with love than France, and no city sets hearts aflutter more than Paris. On Valentine’s Day, that loving feeling seeps out of every corner of the city. Visit charming boulevards sprinkled with blossoms, and galleries, and museums dedicated to celebrating the history of romance. It’s not just Paris that gets in the swing of things on February 14th. The small town of St Valentin village in France becomes the most loved-up place in France for the three days leading up to the holiday. People decorate homes and shops with red roses, exchange gifts, and share sentiments.

Two people with champagne glasses in Paris

Slovenia – where Valentine’s Day heralds the start of Spring

The small central European country of Slovenia has some whimsically lovely traditions around Valentine’s Day. St Valentine is the Saint of Spring in the country. He brought keys to the roots of all the plants and crops in the fields, awakening them after the winter. It is also the time when birds ‘get married’ in the trees. People take to the fields in their bare feet to try and spot winged courting couples. They leave food for growing bird families to help feed the broods. 

A heart shaped hole in a fence, looking over a view of Slovenian fields

St Valentine’s Day in Mexico – a day of Love and Friendship

Mexicans do Valentine’s Day a little differently. February 14th is a day where relationships of all kinds are celebrated, not just a day for lovers. Friends buy each other gifts to show their love and appreciation for each other. Couples can exchange romantic presents such as chocolates, flowers, and balloons.

A couple of women shopping in Mexico

Set sail with the Valentine’s Day Cup in Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is one of the most idyllic spots in the Caribbean. On Valentine’s Day, traditional romantic events are pushed aside for something a little more fun. The Valentine’s Day Cup is a long-running event where locals gather to race model sailboats. It’s a very competitive event, with fishermen, model makers, and sailing enthusiasts competing for the ultimate island bragging rights. The Valentine’s Day Cup might be a boatload of fun, but it’s taken very seriously. There are different classes and a minimum standard of craftsmanship required to enter a vessel. 

Model boat racing

Valentine’s Day in Japan

Japan has two days that celebrate love and appreciation for others. The first is on February 14th, when it is customary for women to present chocolate gifts to the men in their lives. There are two tiers of gift-giving; ‘Giri Choco’ for colleagues, friends, and other casual acquaintances, and ‘Honmei Choco’, which is given to someone special. Ladies can give chocolate to other women, referred to as ‘Tomo Choco’. A month later, on March 14th, known as ‘White Day’ in Japan, it’s the turn of men to lavish the ladies with gifts. On White Day, gifts are not limited to chocolate, but should be ‘Sanbai Gaseshi’, meaning ‘thrice in return’. Gifts should be around three times the amount or value of those given on Valentine’s Day.

A Japanese woman giving a gift to a man

Valentine’s traditions in Germany 

Valentine’s Day in Germany has a quirky twist. Romantic gifts often feature the image of an adorable little pig holding a four-leafed clover. Pigs are synonymous with luck and fortune in Germany, and they feature heavily on cards and advertisements for the holiday. Other popular gifts include large gingerbread hearts with icing messages. The day itself usually consists of a traditional, hearty meal with a loved one.

A pair of piglets playing in the grass

South Africans wear their hearts on their sleeves

You’ve heard of wearing your heart on your sleeve, and South African ladies take this sentiment literally on Valentine’s Day. Ladies will wear a piece of card, often cut into the shape of a heart, on the sleeve of their shirt. On the card is the name of a lover or crush. This tradition takes inspiration from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia. During this festival, a man would choose the name of a woman at random from a jar to be coupled with for the following year.

A couple sitting by the sea in South Africa

Mass weddings in The Philippines

The Philippines holds perhaps the ultimate romantic event – a mass wedding. Each year, the government pays for civil services where couples can get hitched. 100’s of happy couples take part each Valentine’s Day, in ceremonies held across the country.

A newly married couple on the beach

A legendary Valentine’s Day in Greece 

Valentine’s Day has been around for a very long time in Greece. According to mythology, it was the date of the marriage between Zeus and Hera. Cupid is a fixture in the Greek Valentine’s Day celebrations. The winged son of Aphrodite was able to inspire love by shooting an arrow. In modern times, there’s nothing mythological about Valentine’s celebrations. Gift giving, romantic dinners, and love tokens are common features of Valentine’s Day dates.

The Acropolis in Athens

Romantic pastoral traditions in Croatia 

There’s something distinctly pastoral about Valentine’s Day traditions in Croatia. The weather has a starring role in proceedings. If the sun shines on February 14th, the weather for the rest of the year will be fine, so the saying goes. Croatians also believe that if a ladybug lands on you on Valentine’s Day, she will bring good luck. The direction that she flies off in is the direction that your next love will arrive from. 

A town in the Istrian Peninsula, Croatia

Book a Valentine’s stay in a beautiful vacation home

Here at Top Villas, we have a huge range of gorgeous vacation homes around the world to give your Valentine’s Day vacation a touch of luxury. Beachfront homes with stunning sea views, 5-star townhouses in the world’s finest cities, as well as grand country homes are just some of the properties available. We also offer luxurious Travel Extras. Private chefs, spa treatments, and chauffeurs are all available. For a bit of extra pizazz, you can even order a super-romantic treat; champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries for your arrival. Book online today, or contact our awesome team for more information.