Learning the Language of Love

Learning the language of love is no easy task, but thankfully, around the world most cultures have some way to express the ever confusing conundrum that is “amore.” Thank goodness for that, because, as most of us know, expressing affection can be a terribly tricky (dare we say difficult) task that even the most skilled Lothario can struggle with.

Of course in North America we’re used to saying “I love you” whereas in Japan they say “Kimi o ai shiteru”. In Korea they say “Dangsinul saranghee yo”, in Spain they say “Te amo”, while in France and many parts of Canada it’s “Je t’aime”. In several countries they even have one single word to say it all, such as “Nakupenda” in Swahili or “Ngiyakuthanda” in Zulu (try saying that five times fast).

However, we wanted to go beyond the lyrics and delve in to the customs, because as we all know, nothing says I love you like roses, chocolate, jewellery, dinner, or a romantic night in at your favourite hotel – the best idea of all if you ask us. Click here to see some of our best Sandman Signature romance packages.

It might interest you to know that around the world, not everyone celebrates V-Day with the customary flowers and fancy cards, and in fact, some don’t celebrate it at all. In addition, sometimes the celebration of love isn’t relegated to couples, and extends to children, friends, family and more.

  • In Japan for example, generally women only give chocolates to men on Valentine’s Day, then they wait until March 14th, when on “White Day”, men return the favour with non-chocolate candy gifts for the women.
  • The tradition in South Korea is similar, but adds a special event for the single folk too, where on “Black Day”, April 14th, all the lonely people go to a Korean restaurant to eat black noodles and mourn their single life. For the more festive folk in Korea, every month has some special occasion that is loosely related to love, all of which fall on the 14th including: Candle Day, Valentine’s Day, White Day, Black Day, Rose Day, Kiss Day, Silver Day, Green Day, Music Day, Wine Day, Movie Day and Hug Day.
  • In South Africa, many young couples celebrate the day with friends at a nice dinner or a fun event.
  • In some parts of England, specifically Norfolk , they celebrate with a character named “Jack Valentine” who knocks on the back door and then leaves sweets and presents for the children (guess that defeats the purpose of telling your kids not to take candy from strangers though…).
  • In Finland they celebrate the day with Ystävänpäivä which translates into “Friend’s Day” and, as you may have guessed, the day is focused on remembering all your friends, in addition to your loved ones.
  • The friendship theme continues in many Latin American countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peurto Rico where they celebrate “Día del Amor y la Amistad” which stands for the “Day of Love and Friendship”. What do they do? Well the rules are vast and generally extend to “performing acts of appreciation” for friends and family.

Any way you slice it, whether you say it, gift it, card it or cook it, there will always be some way for you to express your love, and if you can’ think of anything good, at least take solace in the fact that all around the world people are struggling with the same romantic predicament– so you’re not alone (and that’s the point of this silly holiday isn’t it?).

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