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There are many ways to say I love you around the world:
I love you. J'taime. Ich liebe dich. Jag älskar dig. Wǒ ài nǐ. Iniibig kita
There are also many way to express love and friendship. While Valentine's Day is popular in several countries, we want to share fifteen other traditions that countries participate in to show their love and affection for their partners, families, and loved ones. Perhaps it will inspire a new adventure for future travel or even introduce you to that 'special someone' while attending one of these delightful festivities!
August 31 - September 30, Matchmaking Festival • Ireland
The largest singles event in Europe takes place in the small town of Lisdoonvarna, which lays claim to the tradition of matchmaking since the 1800s. The last true matchmaker is Willie Daly, who keeps a book of profiles of available singles and lives next to the 300-year-old cottage where he was born. Many bachelors have looked to him for assistance in finding a love match.
February 14th, Barentain Bē • Japan
Japan does Valentine’s Day with an interesting twist: only girls give chocolate to the important men in their lives! They give “obligation chocolate,” or giri choko to friends, co-workers, and classmates, and “true feelings chocolate,” or honmei choko, to romantic interests. Exactly a month later on March 14th, men reciprocate Valentine’s Day on White Day, where they give small gifts and white chocolate.
February 14th, Ballentain Dei • South Korea
While South Korea adopted Valentine’s Day and White Day like Japan, they took it a step further, finding a way to include all of the people who were not given gifts. One month after White Day, on April 14th, is Black Day. Anyone who missed out goes out for a jajamyeon, a dish of black bean-paste noodles. On the bright side, those who were single for the festivities at the beginning of the year can look forward to every 14th, because South Korea celebrates love with a different theme each month.
September 20th, Dia de Amor y Amistad • Colombia
Take your loved one to Colombia in September to celebrate Dia de Amor y Amistad, or Love and Friendship Day. While this day isn’t strictly romantic, it's more inclusive, bringing friends and loved ones together for dinner, drinks, and secret santa-style gift-giving games. This holiday was actually established in 1969 because there were no recognized holidays in September!
February 14, Araw ng mga Puso • The Philippines
Valentine’s Day is met with wild enthusiasm in the Philippines, where mass weddings have become popular. In 2010, more than 1,500 couples were married on February 14th, and that number jumped to 4,000 in 2013. Other than mass weddings, Valentine’s Day in the Philippines has similar traditions of exchanging chocolates, gifting flowers, and going out to dinner.
February 14, Valentins Dag • Denmark
While many parts of the world gift flowers for the romantic holiday, Denmark's tradition of gaekkebrev really steals the show. These charming “joke letters” are comprised of silly rhymes, funny poems and love letters, written on paper that has been cut in an intricate pattern. The letters are signed with a single letter from the person’s name. If the receiver correctly guesses the sender, the sender owes them an Easter Egg later in the year!
February 14, Valentine’s Day • South Africa
While South Africa celebrates Valentine’s Day with flowers, love tokens, and festivals, a unique tradition involves women pinning hearts to their sleeves with the name of the love interest on them. Sometimes, this is even how South African men learn about their secret admirers.
February 14, La Saint Valentin • France
France, the country known around the world for being a romantic destination, has celebrated Valentine’s Day in full for decades. It’s even said that the first Valentine’s Day card originated from Charles, Duke of Orleans in 1415. He sent a love letter to his wife while he was jailed in the Tower of London and signed it “Your Valentine.”
One unromantic tradition, the Loterie d’Amour, allowed single men to choose a woman from a house of single women, and if he didn’t like his pick, he could exchange her for another. This, of course, went over poorly among women. They would burn photos of the men and scream profanities, and the backlash became so uncontrollable the government was forced to ban the tradition entirely.
January 25, St. Dwynwen’s Day • Wales
The Welsh don’t exchange chocolates or cards for Valentine’s Day. Instead, you’ll find Saint Dwynwen being celebrated on January 25th where men gift women they love with beautifully carved wooden spoons. Each spoon is unique, with patterns and symbols each meaning something different. Some spoons have horseshoes (symbolizing luck), wheels (support), and keys (keys to a man’s heart). This tradition also extends to giving these spoons on anniversaries, weddings, and births.
February 14, Valentine’s Day • England
When a woman takes five bay leaves, dips them in rosewater and places them on her pillow, one for each corner and one in the center, then you’ll know it’s St. Valentine’s Day. This is thought to bring dreams of their beloved, and children await Jack Valentine, who sneaks by houses at night to drop small gifts and candies on their front porch.
July 7, Qixi • China
China’s celebration of love is similar to Valentine’s Day, but is celebrated specifically on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. Unsurprisingly, this festival is called the Seventh Night Festival, or Qixi. Lore says a heavenly king’s daughter, Zhinu, and a poor cowherd, Niulang, fell in love, married, and had twins. When Zhinu’s father found out what happened, he forced her to return to the stars away from her lover, but Zhinu’s mother took pity on her daughter’s cries and allowed the couple to meet once a year. Young women prepare offering of melon and fruits for Zhinu, and couples pray for happiness and prosperity.
June 12 & 13, Lovers’ Day and St. Anthony’s Day • Brazil
Because Carnival is held between February and March, most Brazilians skip Valentine’s Day in favor of Lovers’ Day, or Dia dos Namorados on June 12th. It includes western traditions like exchanging chocolate, flowers, and cards, but adds music festivals and country-wide performances. This holiday isn’t limited to romantic couples either, bringing friends and family into the celebrations. The day after is Saint Anthony’s Day, which commemorates married couples under the patron saint of marriage.
February 14, Valentinstag • Germany
While not nearly the commercialized holiday it is around the world, Germany still celebrates Valentine’s Day. They exchange the traditional chocolates, flowers, and heart-shaped gifts, as well as one extra gift that is very different - a pig! Presented in the form of chocolate, figurine, statue, or cookie, the pig represents luck and lust.
February 23 & March 8, Defender of the Fatherland Day & International Women’s Day • Russia
While Russia doesn’t have a Valentine’s Day or something similar, they celebrate the special people in their lives on different days. Women are celebrated on International Women’s Day on March 8th. Mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, aunts, and girlfriends all receive flowers, chocolates, and little presents from the men in their lives. Women reciprocate the gesture on February 23, Defender of the Fatherland Day.
February 14 & July 7, Qíngrén jié • Taiwan
World famous for its flowers, Taiwan boasts one of the most romantic celebrations in the world. The country celebrates lovers twice a year, February 14th and July 7th, in a massive display of exchanging flowers. The colors and number of flowers all mean something different, but the most prevalent are red roses, which represent “an only love.” If a woman receives 99 roses, it means “love forever,” but if she receives 108 roses, she’s being asked the all important question: Will you marry me?
From our friends at Sceptre Vacations
Picturesque alleys, breathtaking sunsets, and buildings that seem to come straight from a storybook… these are the sights sure to capture your heart! From the canal-laden streets of Venice to postcard-worthy bridges of Prague, here are 10 cities you’re sure to fall in love with.
An unexpected contender.
While romance may not be the first term that comes to mind when you think of “Amsterdam,” with 165 canals to stroll alongside and 1,281 bridges to cross, there’s no denying the charm of the Netherlands’ capital.
Hop on a bike and pedal your way through this picturesque destination, or charter a house boat bedecked in flowers and see it by water; there’s so much more to see than the infamous red light district!
"The Pearl of the Adriatic!"
Snake through medieval lanes, dip your toes in the crystal-clear waters, then enjoy a cappuccino while strolling through cobblestone streets, it’s a surprise that it took this long for Dubrovnik to get the attention it deserves!
A scenic ride on a Venetian gondola, passing by the city’s highlights while a gondolier serenades you with a ballad aroundVenice - there are few scenes more romantic!
Greece is the land of romantic islands, and Santorini is THE most romantic of them all. Enjoy world-famous sunsets while sampling cheeses and olive oil from local farms and groves, all with the Aegean Sea as your backdrop.
From vibrant squares to bustling souks.
The colors, the culture, and the intoxicating aroma of freshly cooked tagine – there’s only one Marrakesh, and it’s ready to steal your heart away.
Fall In Louvre!
No list of romantic cities in the world would be complete without a mention of the “City of Love!” From the famous love locks trend to the undeniably seductive French language, it’s no surprise that Paris is consistently in the running for world’s “most romantic."
Arrive in Lucerne and be greeted by its whimsical buildings, with the snow-capped mountains on Lake Lucerne in the background – the perfect recipe for a romantic getaway!
Prague, Czech Republic
Medieval wonders illuminated come twilight.
A blend of medieval beauty with modern charm, Prague is the perfect destination to fall in love with, on your own or with your special someone. Take a walk across the Charles Bridge and be serenaded by street performers as you enjoy sweeping views of the city.
See the main square by boat or carriage.
Fall in love with stunningSevilla, where the flamenco’s hot and the drinks are cool. With its picturesque parks, and buildings overflowing with Moorish influence, your eyes will be in paradise at every corner.
New York City, New York
From sunsets to skyscrapers.
The walk from the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan, the NYC skyline illuminated at night, Central Park covered in freshly-fallen snow... New York City is a lover’s dream! The best way to experience the seduction of the city? Find an empty rooftop and take in the views of the skyscrapers as they reach above and beyond plain sight.
From our friends at Sceptre Vacations
These are some of the most challenging times we have seen in the travel industry, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families that have been impacted by the coronavirus. The safety and wellbeing of you, our valued clients, and our advisors are our top priority.
Have you been wondering how travel works in the time of COVID? What countries are open and what tests are required for entry? We have been following the updates of different countries and have also been gathering resources that you may find useful at this time. One of these new resources is a website dedicated to the status of each country and what phase of 'openness,' if any, they are currently in.
We invite you to visit BringBackTravel where you can discover each country's policy and expected time of reopen, if stated. We know that this may not answer all of our questions, but hope you find it useful at this time.
We appreciate your continued support during this sensitive time. Please know, we are here for you, now and whenever you are ready to travel. We wish you the best and hope you stay safe and healthy!
When thinking of tropical locations or relaxation vacations, most people talk about warm sun beating down on their skin, clear, blue ocean waters, and white sand between their toes.
That sounds nice, right?
But what about pink sand between your toes? Yes, there are places that actually have pink sand, and they’re beautiful! Pink sand gets its color from broken coral pieces, calcium carbonate materials from marine creatures, as well as seashells. Sometimes, the sand has the slightest highlight of pink, but the shoreline and the water’s edge is where the pink will be most vivid.
There are quite a few areas with pink sand beaches, but here are some that stand out to us!
1. Horseshoe bay, bermuda
This beautiful beach is located on Bermuda’s South Shore and is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some relaxation.
This beach is also family friendly, with many activities such as snorkeling, boogie boarding, and paddle boarding. Because this beach is shaped like a horseshoe (hence the name), it’s sheltered from larger waves.
Bars near the beach make it easy to grab some burgers and fish sandwiches, ice cream, and Bermuda’s national drink, the Rum Swizzle.
2. Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
This beach is located on a small island of the Bahamas (it’s so small you can travel the Harbour Island by foot!). Not only is the beach here stunning, there are soo many great activities to take part of.
One of the coolest activities you can do at Pink Sands Beach is to take a boat tour to go swim with pigs! Yes, pigs! You’ll boat over to a smaller island where you can swim alongside these porkers and even feed them. From there you’ll head over to another island where you can partake in a Bahamian food tasting!
If you’re not into swimming with pigs, that’s okay, you can always just set up a towel on the beach and enjoy the views and play in the crystal clear, blue waters!
3. Pink Beach of Barbuda, Caribbean Sea
This island is found in the northeastern Caribbean and consists of small village communities and is known for its natural beaches.
What’s cool about this island is that one side of Barbuda is touched by the Atlantic Ocean, with its dark blue color and beaches filled with driftwood, while the other side of the island is touched by the Caribbean sea, which is where you can find the pink sand beaches and bright blue waters.
Take in the natural beauty, relax and interact with locals. Barbuda isn’t known for its tourism, so you won’t see organized events and activities that you would in larger resort towns, nor will you find tourist attractions or nightlife on this island. Instead, expect blissful peace.
4. Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece
This is an island that is located on the southwest coast of Crete, Greece. It’s more of a sandbar, meaning it can be submerged under the water at certain times. If you’re hanging out in Crete, you can wade out to the island, but don’t expect to see any beach chairs there, though! If you’re up for this adventure you’ll be rewarded with sightings of rare plants and sea creatures, such as the loggerhead sea turtles. Take note – if you’re caught removing any plants or animals, you could be given a big fine!
Most of the time, you’ll see the stunning pink sand on the island and when the sand is pink, it is very pink. However, there can be times where you don’t see the pink sand: this is due to wind conditions, the season, and even the tide motions. But even if you don’t see the sand in its pink beauty, you’ll always be able to feel the softness of the sand on this island. It’s been described as “soft as dust.” The waters surrounding are warm and calm, so it’s a great spot to bring young ones to play.
This island can get busy, so if you’re looking for more of a relaxed environment, it’s recommended to go during the late spring and early summer.
How traveling can benefit You!
There are a lot of reasons that you should consider traveling more. For one, traveling causes physical and psychological changes in you. Today, one can fly for less money, and having a job or a family to cater for does not mean you can’t travel during the weekend or even during holidays. Here are some great ways that traveling can benefit you:
Traveling is a way to lower your stress levels and reduce a risk of heart disease. Doing something different like traveling other than sitting at your work place all day will surely get you feeling great. Most persons find that wandering abroad has helped solve their depression and anxiety problems. Yes, traveling can help in having a healthier mind.
Traveling Gives You a Break from Life
Most times, a lot of persons get caught up in the daily anxieties and hurdles of life. Remaining in that cycle can actually cause you great harm health-wise. As an alternative, traveling is a very viable option as it is a natural way of taking a break from all the stress. So make plans and prepare in advance before taking that big break. You’ll be happy that you did.
Traveling Enhances Your Perception of Other People’s Way of Life
When you develop a travel habit, you begin to get exposed to the cultures of other people. This will help build your understanding of how other people live and why they behave the way that they do. It will help you to become smarter and make you more tolerant in dealing with others. Why not travel to regions that you have questions about and witness their way of life firsthand? This could even be a life-changing experience.
Traveling Transforms You
The people who usually have interesting stories from across the world to add to conversations are usually the those who have a wealth of experience to their names. When you chip in stories or tales that might sound strange or unfamiliar, or when you use a foreign story to enlighten your audience on something new, you can be revered among your social circles.
Traveling Gives You the Opportunity to Taste Foreign Cuisines
When it comes to food, you could probably be the best of cooks back at home, but you’ll meet your match when you travel. There is no feeling greater than trying out a local dish from a foreign country. Buying the local dish of another country in your own area and buying that same dish in its native country are two different things. The latter is simply, always tastes better. Enjoying such a meal is an experience in its own, so go ahead. No one’s stopping you. Try something new.
In the end, traveling is all about having an adventure. There are places unknown to many people of the world. Be the one that stands out by visiting these places. You could make a list and plan to visit as many of them as you can. The possibilities are endless, so it’s all up to you. Regardless which you choose, you’ll be having the time of your life.
Hey, don't you think it's time to take a break from your routine that's in all probability, boring as heck, and go somewhere new and exciting? Where you can get refreshed again? You've already been dreaming about doing something like for a long time, haven’t you? The trouble is, you probably can’t make a choice on the nest place to go.
There are lots of options for you to choose form, but you can’t see and do everything. That’s impossible, but don't feel too bad about it, because you can pick the best among them and still get all the fun you seek. How do you go about doing this? We've outlined some trusted tips to help guide you in choosing where to go as you plan your first trip.
1. Make a bucket list
This is where it all starts from. What are the best things you dream to see and which tourist destinations hold these things? Make a sure list of all the places you love and want to visit, from the most desired to the least desired. Forget the experience of other people, just get your own list ready based on instinct and fashion out your next trip based on it.
2. think about a budget too
Finance has always proven to be a deal breaker for the things we love to do. Remember we said when it comes to traveling, your options are more limited than you would have wanted, hence the reason proper decision-making is important. Take your budget into cognizance as you make your plan. Try to know what you have to spend, then guide your trip to fit into your budget. Remember, it's not about just thinking, but thinking ‘smart’ and finding the best ways to cut costs and still derive fun from the trip.
3. Never forget weather
You're going somewhere entirely new to you, and you don't expect things to be exactly the same with things back home. Before choosing a destination, make proper research about what their weather and climate is like. Trust us, you don't want to visit any country during harsh weather conditions. So research is imperative. Wait until the weather gets better, or simply change the destination.
4. Go with your guts
We've talked about budget and how sticking to it is more than a good idea, but there are some places you simply feel as if you need to see them, even doing so will take a heavy blow on your budget.
It’s your guts telling you to go there. It’s not like you have any credible reason for wanting to go, but that doesn’t change anything. We advise you to do as you please then. As long as it’s a safe, go for it then. In the end, it’s all about fulfilling your desire and living dreams.
5. research your flight ticket beforehand
While planning to travel, look into smaller things like what flight to book and how to go about doing it. Your favorite airline may not have its international flight going anywhere near where you want to be. Again, we reiterate how important it is to do research. That’s the only thing that will avert such situations. And you’ll still have enough time to either change your travel destination or your airline. After all this, the only thing left to do is enjoy every experience your trip brings you.