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5th February 2015
Valentine’s Day The European Way
As Valentine's Day looms we take a look at some of the unusual customs from around Europe. Could any of this provide ideas for your celebrations?

Valentine's Day is just around the corner again and I sure many of you are planning a big surprise for that extra special person in your life. It could just be a romantic meal out, it could be the traditional option of flowers and chocolates, or it could even be a trip on one of these romantic city breaks.

If all of that sounds too clichéd for your liking, though, or you would prefer to do things a little bit differently this year; why not celebrate this special day of love in the style of one of our European neighbours? Here are just a few customs from around Europe you could try.


Pig Cupid

On the face of it, German Valentine's Day celebrations may seem very similar to ours. Although it is not as commercial as the day has become in the UK; cards, flowers and chocolates are the usual treats exchanged between lovers. However, you can add to this list something a little bit more unusual; a pig. This can come in the form of a picture, an ornament, chocolates in the shape of the farmyard animal, or anything else you can think of. The pig is said to signify luck and lust in the year ahead.


Instead of sending a normal bunch of flowers, Danish men prefer to press theirs into the Valentine's card. The most popular choice of bloom is a white snowdrop, but this can be done with any flower that your loved one has a penchant for. Another tradition is known as 'gaekkebrev' and adds a little bit of jeopardy to the celebrations. Secret admirers will send each other notes, poems and cards but, instead of their name, they will be signed with a series of dots which represent each letter. If the receiver then guesses who sent them the card then they will be rewarded with an Easter egg from their romantic devotee.


Juliet Statue Verona

With Italy being a country famous for its romantic places and stories of star-crossed lovers, it's no surprise that Valentine's Day is a bug event. Lovers get together and hold large celebrations whilst many couples chose this day to announce their engagement. As for single women, one custom says that the first man they see on Valentine's will be their husband within the year. If you don't have anyone to send a card to, why not join the thousands of people who declare their admiration for Shakespeare's Juliet by sending a card to the city of Verona.


Whilst modern Valentine's Day celebrations are pretty similar to here in the UK, there was once a French tradition that existed called 'drawing for'. Single people would attempt to meet other singles who lived in one of the houses opposite theirs. If, however, the man felt no connection with his chosen companion he would then leave her in the hope of finding someone else along the street. This tradition was finally banned after the authorities decided they'd had enough of all the miniature bonfires which women used to burn pictures of potential lovers that spurned them.


Broken Gnome

Whilst the Croatians may not have any particularly unusual Valentine's Day traditions, the county is home to the Museum of Broken Relationships. Located in Zagreb, the displays at the museum include broken glass that resulted from an object being thrown in anger at a loved one, an axe that one woman used on her ex-lover's furniture, and even a garden gnome that suffered at the hands of an aggrieved ex-sweetheart. A look around the exhibitions of Valentine's Day may the perfect way to commemorate your fully-functioning relationship in a non-commercial way.

If you are hoping to plan a last minute romantic trip for you and your Valentine then you can call Fred. Holidays today or submit a request through our online form.

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