Holistic Huskies: Black beans and chocolate

Micaela Hoadley, Anthropology Club

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I know, I can already imagine everyone rolling their eyes when they see the title of this article. “Of course you’re writing about Valentine’s Day! Very original.” However, there are some unique and some angsty traditions that different countries around the world have to celebrate this Hallmark holiday of love.

The history of this holiday is quite a bloody and dark one. I won’t go into the murky details since it is quite a Debby Downer. But, the holiday stems from the various individuals deemed Saint Valentine for their martyr acts on Feb. 14th 269-270 A.D in Rome.

There is also another Saint Valentine in the Medieval era who would perform Christian healing miracles. These stories are often well known, but let me tell you about another interesting side of this holiday’s origin.

In the 400s A.D. in the Roman empire, young men would sacrifice animals, often goats, and make thongs out of their skin and run through the streets causing ruckus. This festival evolved into a rowdy celebration of fertility, but the increasingly religious Roman Empire shut down this celebration.
In a more modern sense, there are many different countries that have alternative celebrations to the Americanized version of Valentine’s Day. Most of them still celebrate love, but with a twist to what Americans are accustomed to.

My personal favorite is an old tradition that is currently banned in France. This ritual involved men and women pairing off at parties. The women who were not satisfied with their partner would attend a bonfire after the party ended. This bonfire was a ritual where women would hurl pictures of men who wronged them into the fire.

Apparently this became so unruly that the French Government banned it. However, today Paris and many other parts of France are known to be one of the most romantic places in the world.

In South Korea, Valentine’s celebrations occurs in three stages. On Feb. 14, gifts are exchanged between lovers. Mar. 14 is known as White Day, where Valentine’s Day is celebrated but with more gifts.

As for Apr. 14, this day is known as Black Day. The name eludes to something less romantic and quite sad. Black Day is for people who do not have a lover to celebrate with Valentine’s or White Day with. Those who participate mourn their solidarity by eating dark, black bean paste noodles, called, ​jajangmyeon.

In Wales, men carve special wooden spoons for their woman lover. Different symbols are carved into the spoon to represent luck, support, and the man’s heart with horseshoes, wheels, and keys. However, today these spoons are not necessarily reserved for the day of love, since they are now given at weddings and other happy days and celebrations.

Lastly, in England, Jack Valentine comes and visits homes and leaves candles and goodies for children. He is similar to Santa Claus. However, London is also known to be a very romantic place to celebrate love.

Of course there’s many different ways people celebrate Valentine’s Day. Whether you celebrate with your significant other, cat and bottle of wine, or Netflix and discount chocolate, celebrate safely and celebrate happily!

Micaela is a senior Anthropology major and the Vice President of the Anthropology Club.