On February 14th, women treat the men to chocolates. One month later on March 14th, however, women receive gifts in return on “White Day,” including lingerie, jewelry or clothing. In South Korea, the celebration extends even further: April 14th has been coined “Black Day,” where single folks who didn’t receive anything on the two previous holidays get together to eat a dish known as “black noodles” to either rejoice in or mourn the single life.


The most popular Valentine’s Day tradition is the mass wedding celebration, in which hundreds of couples gather in open spaces across the country marry in a public ceremony.


Instead of a focus on couples, February 14th is actually known as “Friend’s Day.” People exchange gifts and sentiments with their dearest pals. However, romance is still celebrated: singles can ride a special “love bus” and meet others looking for a connection. It’s also a popular day to get engaged or married.


Historically, the holiday was celebrated as a spring festival, where people would gather outdoors, listen to music and read poetry, and later stroll in the gardens with their Valentines. Today, sweethearts eat out at restaurants and exchange gifts like perfume and the popular Baci Perugina – chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped in a love note.


February 14th is a day for secret admirers to show their love. Men send women funny poems or rhyming loves notes called “Gaekkebrev,” with a code as the signature, one dot for each letter of the sender’s name. If she guesses her admirer correctly, she wins an Easter egg on Easter that year, but if she’s incorrect, she owes the sender an egg on the springtime holiday.


Much like Santa Clause leaves presents under the tree on Christmas Eve, “Jack Valentine” leaves sweet treats and small gifts for children the night before Valentine’s Day. As for the adults? Customary cards and flowers are ways of expressing romantic feelings on this day.


In the past, a tradition called “une loterie d’amour” or “drawing for love” meant that single men and women would enter houses that faced opposite each other and call out to each other through the windows until they paired off. If the men weren’t attracted to their match, they could leave the woman for someone else.  Ladies who weren’t chosen gathered together to burn pictures of the men in a big bonfire, yelling and cursing in fury. The practice grew so out of hand that the French government actually banned it. Today, the French show their love through food on this day, often celebrating at restaurants.