There are so many opinions floating around about Valentine’s Day. Some believe it is a ‘Hallmark Holiday’ and is simply a consumer grab at our wallets. In all fairness, it is definitely the most expensive day of the year to buy a red rose. Others take Valentine’s Day to the extreme, with diamonds and fancy holidays on the gift list. Maybe you’re somewhere in between, and just enjoy the reminder to appreciate your significant other and the love you share in the craziness of life.
Wherever you are on the scale, we are familiar with the norm when it comes to showing love in Australia. Gifts, quality time, words of affirmation in poems or songs, thoughtfulness and affection. In honour of Valentine’s Day, we have gathered together some of the interesting ways that dating happens around the world. We’ve included the weird, the wonderful and everything in between.
Japan – Double or Nothing!
In Japan, Valentine’s Day chocolate gifts are purchased by women and given to the men in their life. In return, the girls receive… nothing. However, if you’re a guy reading this and you’re thinking yum, I’ll take part in that please, be warned. Exactly one month later, the Japanese celebrate a similar follow-up holiday called “White Day”. On this day, the chocolate giving and receiving is reversed; the men have to buy the women white chocolate if their feelings are mutual. All seems fair right? That is, until you learn that men are expected to spend twice as much on White Day as the girls do on Valentine’s Day. So not exactly fair, but great if you’re the woman in that equation!
For centuries, it was the tradition in Roma communities that if you manage to forcefully kidnap a girl and detain her for three days, she becomes your wife by default. This may be self-explanatory, but in most modern societies this isn’t acceptable, and this method of dating is not recommended by the Westport Club. However, in traditional Roma culture, the guys quite literally ‘bag the girl’..
Austria – The Apple of my… Armpit?
At a time in Austria we can only hope is as far back in history as possible, women used to arrive at ballroom dances with slices of apple under their armpits. Not for any old reason though. When all of the lively music had finished and the dancing complete, the women would remove the sweaty apple slices from their armpits and hand them to the men they fancied. Imagine the confidence involved in that! If he fancied her back, the man would take a bite out of her sweet sweaty apple and, presumably, pretend to enjoy it. This one is definitely in the weird category.
Spooning in Wales is a little different.
“Spooning” takes on a whole new meaning in Wales, whether you’re the big or little one is really irrelevant. In traditional Welsh culture, young lovebirds give and receive ‘lovespoons’ as a symbol of their adoration. These wooden spoons are hand-carved and elaborate. Young bachelors will spend hours intricately carving this most significant gift. Although the tradition isn’t kept up today, ‘lovespoons’ still serve as a popular gift in Wales for weddings, engagements and Valentine’s Day.
China – You Spin Me Right Round Baby!
In China’s Dai ethnic group, courting is done around the bonfire. The women are seated around the fire spinning wool with their wheels until the men of the village begin serenading them. Their sweet songs are typically paired with traditional dance forms. If one of the women sees a man that she likes, she will pull out a stool hidden underneath her blanket of skirts and invite him to sit next to her. If the feeling is returned, the man will take the seat next to her and placing his blanket over her shoulders. How lovely.
Man and Knife?
As recently as the 19th century, Finnish women who had reached a marriageable age would wear an empty sheath around their waist. If a man wanted to show his interest, he would make or buy a knife to put in her sheath. A woman would return the knife if she wasn’t interested, but keeping his blade meant that she agreed to marry him. This is definitely not the most subtle way to go about courting, but there’s no denying it gets straight to the point!
It is funny and albeit a little scary reading about some of these traditions. However, it brings our very tame and sometimes underwhelming acts of love under the microscope! For an exciting way to spoil your loved one this weekend, why not try something new? Supporting a drought or fire effected region is the perfect idea – book a weekend away, buy from the bush, or simply have a ‘stay-cation’ and taking note of our amazing local businesses!
Celebrate with us.
As always, there is plenty going on at the Westport Club for Valentine’s Day. From a delicious two-course meal in Aqua with our stunning river views, to a cocktail class in Jimmy’s to have a bit of fun with your loved one. We would absolutely love to celebrate with you this weekend! You can see all the details here.