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Valentine's Across Cultures


Valentine's Across Cultures

A popular origin story for this day of friends and lovers is that Valentinus went to prison for marrying soldiers and tending to persecuted Christians in Rome.

It became the romantic feast of chocolates, flowers, and jewels not through Hallmark, but with the help of poets like Chaucer in the 14th century. 

If you're a teacher with a diverse class, make sure providing hearts or cards for all other children is optional, as parents with a Muslim faith may have objections.

I hope you take this day to appreciate and love yourself, as well as your friends or partners.  

It's true, American schmalz has largely taken over and most of your stores will have at least one pink and red aisle right now. 

Paper Valentines became so popular in England in the early 19th century that they were assembled in factories. (Wikipedia)

The British Empire included Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Sudan, and other African countries at the time, so it's no wonder it's widespread and celebrated. 

Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, and mainland Spain celebrate Valentine's same as most Anglo-Western cultures, with the exception of Cataluña - here it's on Sant Jordi (April 23rd) where boys give girls a rose, and girls give boys a book.

In India, different states and different religions have different customs. Many celebrate Spring Goddesses around early February, and traditionalists see Western Valentine's as yet another commercialized event.

Estonia and Finland call it "Friend's Day", so getting a rose doesn't mean he loves you.

The Greek have another Saint to protect lovers, Hyacinth of Caesarea, and she's celebrated on July 3rd. 

In Spanish-speaking South America it's a hybrid día del amor y de la amistad (day of love and friendship), so nobody has to feel lonely. 

Guatemala calls it día del cariño (affection day).

In Brazil and Portugal, it's dia dos namorados (day for lovers / those who are in love).

The Philippines and Sweden call it heart's day or all heart's day. It's the busiest day for florists. 

South Korea and Japan have joined the feast in the 20th century. Japanese boys give dark chocolate to the girls they like on February 14th, and the girls reciprocate with white chocolate on March 14th. Days and chocolates are reversed in South Korea. 

How are you going to celebrate this year?



Image by terren in Virginia, flickr, Creative Commons License


Perfect Valentine's Gifts for every Type


Perfect Valentine's Gifts for every Type

How we show our love and appreciation is influenced by our Love Type and our Personality Type. 

If you don't know what to get yourself or your lover this year, read on for suggestions. 

If you wonder why your lover keeps getting you sucky gifts, read on for explanation - and then point them here so they might learn how to better please you. 

I try to live by the Platinum Rule:

Treat everyone the way THEY want to be treated. 

That means not getting my husband a cuddly bear, or a card, or anything remotely sentimental and useless. In turn, he asks me every year what I want. Birthdays, anniversaries, Hallmark Holidays, Christmas - Every. Single. Time. I know that's because only when he knows what I want can he be sure to get me the perfect gift. But I'd like for him to, just, get it

And every occasion my answer is the same: "Yes, Darling, I'd appreciate a token of your appreciation in the form of flowers, chocolates, or anything personal and thoughtful. Ta very much." 

If you're in a similar boat, here are some thoughts:

Since we all assume everyone thinks and behaves like us, you may not be aware of a difference between you two. So, first you need to know how you and your partner like to express and receive loving gestures. A quick and easy way to do this is the 5 Love Languages questionnaire.

Your results may vary between these five lenses:

Once you know your and your partner's preference, it should be a little more straightforward. For example, for someone who loves

  • Words of Affirmation, consider writing a love letter.
  • Acts of Service may be a book of coupons for household chores to be used throughout the year.
  • Receiving Gifts may be more along the chocolates, flowers, or jewelry line. 
  • Quality Time can be spent at a museum, a walk in the park, or a weekend mini-break.
  • Physical Touch can be an invitation to a spa, or a couple's massage course you take together. 

Another way to honor your and your partner's preferences would be looking at your Personality Types. Let's focus on the Essential Motivator™ or Temperament lens, as they give us an indication of core psychological needs. 

The Catalyst™ Temperament, or if you have an NF in your Type code

The core needs are for the meaning and significance that come from having a sense of purpose and working toward some greater good. They need to have a sense of unique identity. They value unity, self-actualization, and authenticity.

In other words, don't get them a toaster for Valentine's, even if theirs just broke. This is a special day, and your love is special, and should be celebrated as such. 

Your lovely Catalyst™ will likely appreciate a personalized display of affection, something that shows you spent time and forethought into pleasing them. They'll take pleasure in preparing the same for you, so be sure to appreciate it exuberantly. 

The Theorist™ Temperament, or if you have an NT in your Type code

The core needs are for mastery of concepts, knowledge, and competence. People of this temperament want to understand the operating principles of the universe and to learn or even develop theories for everything. They value expertise, logical consistency concepts, and ideas and seek progress. They tend toward pragmatic, utilitarian actions with a technology focus.

In other words, spending time on a thoughtful, romantic gesture may receive a neutral response. 

Your lovely Theorist™ is more likely to appreciate a nice dinner, or a gift card to their favorite book- or gadget store. Which is what you might receive from them, as well. 

The Stabilizer™ Temperament, or if you have an SJ in your Type code

The core needs are for group membership and responsibility. They need to know they are doing the responsible thing. They value stability, security, and a sense of community. 

In other words, an extravagant, lavish gift may have an unexpected reaction of doubt, worry about the expense, or guilt. 

Your lovely Stabilizer™ will very likely appreciate a traditional present like flowers and a card. If you want to take it a step further, personalize the process and suggest establishing a Valentine's tradition just for you two. When they surprise you this year, think of all the memories you'll be creating together. 

The Improviser™ Temperament, of if you have an SP in your Type code

The core needs are to have the freedom to act without hindrance and to see a marked result from action. People of this temperament highly value aesthetics, whether in nature or art. Their energies are focused on skillful performance, variety, and stimulation.

In other words, don't repeat yourself

Your lovely Improviser™ is more likely to appreciate an experience with you - the more spontaneous, the better. They're the ones you want to go all out for, and who'll go all out for you. 

Hope you'll have a lovely February, and why not treat yourself as well. <3

Essential Motivator descriptions by Linda Berens

Image by me - that's what hubby prepared for our last anniversary. He's still milking it.