Wherever you are from, you’re likely to be aware of a romantic tradition or two. Marriage, or Valentine’s Day are common romantic traditions most people have heard about, and the history for just these two alone are extremely interesting. Did you know Valentine’s Day stems from an ancient Roman fertility celebration? Or that the tradition of marriage actually predates known history? Of course, we’re not here to give you a history lesson, but we do have some pretty cool romantic traditions from across the globe including: pre-wedding warbling, an incredibly feminist day of female celebration from a surprising country, and some sexy henna wedding fun, plus lots more. Stand by to get some romantic inspiration (or at the very least a bit of a giggle) from around the world:
In North Eastern Borneo, the Tidong culture insists that the groom is only able to lay his eyes upon his beautiful bride (she wears a veil), after singing several love songs for her. How cute a tradition is this? For music is the food of love isn’t it? We just hope she sticks around for the ceremony if his voice sounds like a cat being strangled!
Niger Cute Courtship
Every single year, the male members of the Wodaabe Fula in Niger prepare for the annual courtship event named ‘Gerewol’ in the most spectacular and romantic way. Each and every man looking to court a lady has to wear a beautiful and spectacular costume, wear face paint and then dance and sing. At the end of their courting performance, the women then get to choose their favourite performer for a date.
Russian ‘Spoil All The Ladies’ Day
Russia isn’t necessarily known as the most modern country, but it is known as being passionately romantic, which might explain why their international women’s day holds such a beautiful tradition. On the 8th of March every year the men do all the chores, all the work, and any other tasks, whilst the women not only get to put their feet up, but they also get flowers, chocolates and gifts from the men in their life. It’s a holiday you could compare to Mother’s Day in other countries, of which there isn’t one in Russia, and started in 1913 when women fought for the right to vote, although the holiday wasn’t officially recognised until 1918. “C Vos’Mym Marta!” (Happy 8th of March).
The weddings of Puerto Ricans have an extra guest on their top table, one which doesn’t really say much…
In Puerto Rico, a bride doll complete with wedding dress and veil and around the size of a Barbie doll, is placed right at the head of the top table, and draped in little charms which are then given to guests at the end of the night as a thanks for attending.
Italian Padlocks Of Love
Love Padlocks are continually added to the Ponte Milvio in Rome and there are many copycat locations, including the various bridges in Paris where they have to keep being removed because they are unsafe. Padlocks can be plain, or many people have them engraved with initials of the couple, or with messages of love.
The Welsh Love Spooning
Wales holds one of the cutest love traditions in the world: love spoons. Tradition is that a man carves a wooden spoon for his love interest and gives it to her to let her know he will provide food and nourishment for her forevermore. If the love interest is lacking in, well, erm interest she has to give the spoon back (cringe). But if she is happy to be ‘spooned’ she wears the spoon around her neck for a week or so. The spoons are commonly intricate and beautifully carved and there are dedicated museums with the most stunning examples of love spoons throughout history in Wales.
In various Arabic and African countries, and India and south Asia, there’s a tradition of ladies covering themselves in detailed, beautiful henna patterns pre-wedding. These patterns are meant to represent youth, femininity, beauty and worth which is why her designs are so detailed and impressive. The only woman at the event who might have more elaborate designs is the mother of the bride. This artistic culture gets a bit sexier though, because it is said that the groom’s initials are tattooed in henna, onto a private area of the bride to be’s body.
Papua New Guinea Male Bird Courtship Dance
In tribes of Papua New Guinea, you won’t just see the birds of paradise jumping and dancing around displaying their dazzling colours to impress potential mates. The men of the tribe paint themselves and wear feathers and perform ‘sing-sings’ which are a spiritual display performed to the rest of the tribe, where the men ’embody’ the bird of paradise they are copying, and take on their mating displays.
Gretna Green In Scotland
Gretna Green is one of the most famous places to get married in the UK and over 5,000 people go there annually to get married. The reason it is so popular stems back to 1754 where a law made it illegal for anyone English under 21 to get married, so romantic young couples from England would run away to the first village in Scotland where that law didn’t apply – Gretna Green – and get married.
In the most Southern areas of America, jumping the broom is a marriage tradition where those just married will hold hands and jump over a broom to symbolise their new life together. The tradition came about during times when slavery was still legal, and African American wedding ceremonies were not recognised. Originally brooms were waved around the heads of newlyweds to get rid of spirits, and the couple would then jump the broom symbolizing the wife’s commitment to keeping her new home clean.
Armenian Salty Bread
During the Armenian festival of the Feast Of St Sargis (St Sargis is the Armenian patron saint of young love), single or dating Armenian women who are not yet married, eat salty bread to hope it brings on a dream where the man they will marry shows himself and brings water.
Korea And Its 12 Days Of Love
You might not think of Korea as a particularly romantic place, which is why we saved this bit of information for last, because they might just be the most romantic culture on the planet. In Korea there is not just one holiday (Valentine’s Day) revolving around love, but 12, one for each 14th of the month throughout the year. Here they are:
- Jan 14th – Diary Day where couples buy each other a diary for the year (something you will definitely need with 12 romantic holidays to remember!)
- Feb 14th – Valentine’s Day where in Korea women buy the men the gifts
- March 14th – White Day If men feel the same way about the woman who wooed them on Valentine’s Day, they spend twice as much on getting gifts to give them for White Day
- April 14th – Black Day is where anyone single gets with other singles or single friends, say bad things about ex’s, embrace single life and each jajangmyeon together (black noodles) – not so romantic but, everyone is catered for right and sometimes friendship love is all we need at the time!
- May 14th – Yellow Day otherwise known as rose day is where couples dress in yellow and give each other roses. Anyone single eats yellow curry
- June 14th – Kiss Day is as it sounds, smooch as much as you can!
- July 14th – Silver Day is when any relationships that are starting to get serious get even more serious, when couples are introduced to each others parents and silver promise rings are exchanged
- August 14th – Green Day where couples go out into green or outdoor spaces like forests, or tea fields, to enjoy time together
- Sept 14th – Music Day where you take lots of selfies together, and then meet up with friends later for karaoke (quite specific but, sounds fun!)
- Oct 14th – Wine Day where you guessed it, couples share a bottle of wine together
- Nov 14th – Movie Day where you watch DVD’s with friends, or go to the cinema together
- Dec 14th – Hug Day where you hug and snuggle your loved one
You might think that would be enough romantic holidays for Korea, but apparently there’s still room for more! On November 11th every year Pepero Day happens when people share long pretzel sticks together (obviously!).
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved” – George Sand
We really hope you feel inspired by these many wonderful traditions around the world. If you don’t fancy flying to Scotland, sticking feathers to yourself, eating salty bread or celebrating romance in weird ways every month, don’t worry. One of the best things about love is that it is wild, and free and spontaneous – there’s no right or wrong way to express it or celebrate it. The fun is in making your own special unique traditions as you journey through life together.