Often associated with romance, the exchange of Valentine gifts embraces all forms of love - for families, friends as well as secret admirers. Children create handmade cards for schoolmates, Â while couples share candlelit dinners and delicious treats as typical tokens of love. Some of the following rituals from around the globe offer fun new ways to say, "I Love You"!
UNIQUE LOVE GIFTS
The classic love letter may have begun with St. Valentine but lovers everywhere find ways to express their feelings throughout the year, sometimes with a curious twist.
â€¢ Germans exchange little cupid-like flying pigs that symbolize lust and luck, as well as large heart-shaped ginger cookies decorated with messages like "Kiss Me".
â€¢ Italians attach padlocks to bridges, railings and lamp posts and toss aw ay the key to profess their love to paramours, inspired by the novel and movie, I Want You.
â€¢Danish men send "lovers' cards" with rhyming verse or a funny note, signed in dots-one for each letter of the anonymous sender's name. If a woman guesses her special someone, she receives an Easter egg.
LATIN LOVE FOR EVERYONE
In many Latin American countries, Valentine's Day extends to all as a Day of Love and Friendship. For instance Guatemala's Dia del CariÃ±o is Affection Day.
â€¢ In Columbia, Costa Rica and Mexico, people exchange "acts of appreciation" instead of gifts, while other countries give gifts anonymously.
â€¢Argentina also has Sweetness Week in July when people offer candy in exchange for a kiss.
FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATES IN ASIA
â€¢ In Japan, women give male co-workers chocolates on February 14. A month later, March 14 is White Day w hen men reciprocate by giving white chocolates to the w omen.
â€¢ Taiwan celebrates on July 7 with men giving women meaningful bouquets: a single red rose represents "an only love", 99 roses is "a love forever", and 108 pops the question "Will you marry me?"
â€¢ Koreans commemorate love on the 14th of every month with June's Kiss Day, December's Hug Day, Valentine's Day in February, White Day in March, andApril's Black Day for singles.
VALENTINE'S FOR SINGLES
Around the world, from The Philippines to India, the day of love is the best time to propose marriage and celebrate existing love, but in some countries, it offers singletons an opportunity to find that special someone.
â€¢ In Malaysia, single w omen w rite their phone number on an orange and toss it into the river for fruit vendors to collect and resell.
â€¢ China's version of Valentine's is celebrated at the Seventh Night Festival on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Based on a folktale about two stars separated in the Milky Way who reunite only once a year, women carve melons into beautiful flowers and gaze on the stars Vega and Altair with wishes for finding a good husband.
â€¢ In South Africa, women wear their heart on their sleeve by pinning the name of their secret love on their shirt, an ancient Roman tradition among soldiers.
Candy, floral and greeting card companies are great promoters of Valentine's Day. Although the ideal would be to celebrate love on a daily basis, what with our busy lives, February 14 provides a special opportunity for expressing our feelings - with flying pigs, padlocks or poetry.
No matter how you choose to celebrate it or express your love, Valentine's Day is also another perfect opportunity to look extra nice. Keep hair shiny and skin glowing by using moisturizing products from brands like Pantene (hair) and Olay (skin) to ensure that extra sparkle on this day of love.
How is Valentine's Day celebrated in your part of the world? Share them below!