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Not-Your-Average V-Day Gift Ideas and Traditions

Gift Ideas

I can feel your heartbeat (running through me)

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Do you know your loved one can listen to your heartbeat in their pillow and you can hear theirs? London based company Little Riot has made it possible by synching your heartbeat and transmitting it through a wristband to your lover’s pillow wherever they might be. Each pillow-speaker then beats with your partner’s heart in real time, making it feel like your head is lying on their chest. We think this is a perfect Valentine’s Day gift especially if you are in a long distance relationship. With the gift of each other’s heart, you’ll never feel alone again.

A little piece of me

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Melbourne-based jewellery designer and maker Polly van der Glas is taking personalized gift ideas to another level. The artist’s collection includes rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings made with precious metals that have been cast from human teeth and hair…YES, you have read it right! Polly pairs amazing silver-smithing craftsmanship to her unique jewellery range and turn them into piece of art. The designer is seeking donations of discarded bodily materials but you can use your own teeth as part of a custom piece for you loved one. Nothing says I love you quite as much as giving your sweetheart a ring made from one of your own teeth. So, are you ready to make this tiny sacrifice? Us? Err…No!

A voodoo curse

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Who says Valentine’s is all about love and all things sweet, how about wearing a vampire mask to teach those exes a lesson? So, if you have someone nasty on your list, consider putting a virtual voodoo curse on your enemy with the help of PinStruck.com. This free site is the brainchild of two web designers who allows users to send anonymous, passive-aggressive messages to those who have wronged them. The victim will receive a link directing them to the site, where they will see a personalized effigy of themselves all pierced with pins. It’s time to get even!

Valentine’s Day Traditions

Philippines

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Valentine’s Day is synonymous to mass weddings in Philippines. Every year, hundreds of couple say ‘I do’ at the same time, making February 14 the most popular wedding anniversary day for Filipinos. The tradition has become a rage since 2004. In many cities and towns across the country, thousands of couples exchange their vows en masse to kick off the festivities that start at midnight, when everyone kisses at once. Besides registering ahead of the event with some personal documents, the only other major thing participating couples have to do is show up in their formal wear. A white wedding gown, or a dress for women, and Barong Tagalog or something that fits the occasion for men. The venue, flowers, wedding cake, a sumptuous wedding banquet, cash and in-kind gifts, and in some areas, even the wedding rings, are free of charge for the love struck couples, along with their families, if they choose to partake in the mass nuptials.

Brazil

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Brazil celebrates its version of Valentine’s Day, Dia dos Namorados, in June. The holiday on June 12 is timed to coincide with St. Anthony’s Day on June 13. St. Anthony of Padua died on June 13, 1231 and is considered by some to be the patron saint of marriage. Dia dos Namorados, which roughly translates to Lovers’ Day, or Boyfriends’ /Girlfriends’ Day, is celebrated with gifts and decorations similar to those traditionally found on Valentine’s Day. Celebrating in June also leaves more time in February for Carnival, the raucous annual festival timed to coincide with the beginning of Lent. One popular tradition is to write down the names of all your crushes, put them in a hat and pick one name at random. The chosen name supposedly indicates who you should marry!

Slovenia

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Have you noticed Slovenia is the only country in the world that has the word love in its name? While Valentine’s Day is celebrated internationally on February 14, Slovenian celebrates St. Gregory’s Day on March 12 as their romantic holiday. Valentine’s Day still holds a very special meaning to the locals. St. Valentine is one of the patron saints of spring in Slovenia and February 14 is considered a great day for working outdoors. It is a popular day to start working in the fields and vineyards and getting ready for the future harvest. Local tradition says that plants begin to grow in the middle day of February. It is also a strongly held tradition that the birds of the fields propose to their loved ones on this day and marry. Slovenians who would like to see the ceremony of birds must walk barefoot to the bushes. We assume the walk on the frozen ground might help melting the hearts in anticipation of the day of love coming in a month’s time.

Estonia & Finland

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While Estonia celebrates Friend’s Day on February 14, the country also has an interesting tradition for single people. Those not romantically attached on Valentine’s Day can take a ride on the love bus in the hopes of meeting someone special. And even if you don’t meet your match aboard the bus, taking the ride with your other pals is your Friend’s Day consolation prize.

Finns too celebrate February 14 as Friend’s Day, a traditional holiday celebrated with the entire squad. They send and receive cards, flowers and chocolates to friends, family, neighbours, colleagues and of course to the sweethearts. So, instead of buying a gift and a card to your loved one, you should not forget to send Ystävänpäivä (Friend’s Day) cards to your best friends.

 Japan

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In Japan, it is customary for women to give men chocolates on Valentine’s Day. For one day of the year, women take precedence and don’t wait for men to make the first move. One particularly popular gift is homemade chocolate honmei-choco for the object of your desire or store-bought giri-choco as a non-romantic sign of affection for friends and coworkers. The nation’s men return the favour on March 14, known as White Day, when guys give women white chocolate or other white gifts.

South Korea

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Taking a step further from Japan’s Valentine’s Day on February 14 and White Day on March 14, South Koreans celebrate a third holiday on April 14, known as the Black Day. It is the day single friends gather to eat noodles and celebrate their (lack of) relationship status by eating jajangmyeon, a noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of black beans. Singles in South Korea celebrate the day by dressing in head-to-toe black and gorging on the Korean version of comfort food. It’s a fun filled day and you will even see people who are in relation relishing this black bean sauce noodle dish. No one really knows who started this tradition, but it is one of the most commonly celebrated days by many Koreans even though it is not a national holiday.

Wales

wales-1Not exactly a Valentine’s Day tradition, but rather than professing their love on February 14, the Welsh celebrate St. Dwynwen’s Day on January 25. Saint Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers and men traditionally give women hand-carved wooden spoons as a romantic gesture. The custom is thought to have originated when Welsh sailors carved designs into wooden spoons while at sea to bring back to the women at home.

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