It’s a fact that Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the world, but not everywhere in the same way. For example, Taiwan has a different take on it: The public exchange of affection is not tolerated by the government. Maybe understandable, since about 80% of young Taiwanese women lose their virginity on Valentine’s Day!
In Japan for example, gender roles are switches and women give men gifts, mostly made of chocolate.
Being celebrated as “Friendship Day” in Finland puts a different spin on it. People mostly anonymously exchange cards and small gifts as a sign of friendship.
Valentine’s Day in South Africa is a day of public celebration, where people are dressed in white and red colors as a sign of purity and love.
However, in Saudi Arabia celebrating Valentine’s Day is prohibited by Islamic Law, especially red roses are on the ‘black list’.
How do Germans celebrate it?
- For a change, this holiday did NOT originate in Germany! In fact, Valentine’s Day finally gained a foothold there in the 1950’s. The Americans are to ‘blame’ this one. Being stationed there after WWII, they celebrated it and Germans picked it up. In 1950, the first ‘Valentine’s Ball’ took place in Nuremberg.
- However, till this very day 16% of all Germans still believe that Valentine’s Day is an invention of the flower industry. As you already know this holiday has a much longer history than that: The legend dates back all the way to the Roman Empire, click here to read more.
- Compared to other countries, German’s are Valentine’s Day grouches: Only 36% of all Germans give their loved ones a gift. Read more here about why this is the case.
- 56% of all singles in Germany hate Valentine’s Day and can’t wait to get the day over with.
- The most popular Valentines gift is chocolate, but to keep history straight, the heart-shaped praline box was invented by a Brit named Richard Cadbury in 1868. From there, it made its way across the world.
- Flowers and lingerie are other popular gift items in Germany. Among the flowers, the rose is the most favorite one. The German flower industry sells over 1,000 tons of them!
- About 26% of Germans celebrate this day with a romantic dinner in a restaurant, followed by 22%, who prefer a romantic dinner at home
- 85% of all Valentine’s cards are purchased by women!
- Germans consider cigarettes, socks and cactuses as some of the worst Valentine’s gifts
- The most romantic Germans are the Bavarians – 54% of them celebrate it every year!
Overall, Valentine’s Day is not a major event in Germany. One reason may be that it also coincides with the carnival season, and Germans are just busy enjoying the events, parades and parties there!
However, if you intend to travel to Germany or learning German, you certainly make a great impression if you know some basics.
Basic Valentine’s Vocabulary
Additional remarks to the vocabulary:
Happy Valentine’s Day! = Here you can also say: Alles Gute / Liebe zum Valentinstag!
Flower, e.g. a bunch of flowers = ein Strauß Blumen
To kiss = küssen (ich küsse, du küsst, …)
To love = lieben (ich liebe, du liebst, …)
I love you! = Ich liebe Dich!