Although not as big as in western countries, Argentina celebrates the Dia de Los Enamorados or Valentine's day. It is an interesting case study, as many have criticized Valentine's day as being run by corporate greed as a way to encourage spending on candy, flowers, and other gifts to show your love for one another. True Valentine's Day in Argentina, however, is not celebrated on February 14th. Sweetness Week, as it is called, is celebrated from July 1-7th. Although it was initially celebrated on a single day, it has changed in recent times as a way for manufacturers to capitalize on this tradition.
In response to public criticism, prices of candies and flowers were reduced by making them smaller and more sentimental. In this way, the week is celebrated through kisses and sweets, which are often considered "payments" from one partner to another.
France has had a unique tradition on Valentine's day, as it was considered the day for a "Love Lottery". This exciting game is played on people's hope and innate gambling, which often is associated with leaving love to chance. The goal of the lottery is to pair up men and women who are single in a large matchmaking game. This is not unlike the west, where schools and higher education will often have organizations that conduct deliveries and matchmaking services for those who are looking for a long-term partner.
The game was very personal, as men and women were placed on opposite sides of the street. The men and women would choose each other, and call out to each other to meet face to face. The game had rules, as men were allowed to reject their once-desired companion after their initial meeting. It was customary for single women to get together after this festival and burn the pictures of men who rejected them on a large bonfire. Of course, this presented more than a few dangers, both socially and physically, and was outlawed by the French government.
Valentine's day in France now fits the western narrative of gift-giving. Florists know to prepare for this holiday with red roses, with some shops making more than 80% of their yearly income during this week. Saint Valentin in France is a popular tourist destination during this time when the city comes alive.
Although Valentine's Day was introduced in 1930, it was not celebrated until just a few years ago. It was eventually proposed by confectionary companies as a marketing ploy to attempt to sell more sweets to the public. While it is not uncommon for men to give their partners roses and chocolates, in Japan, it is quite the opposite. Women are expected to give candies, sweets, and gifts to their loved ones. Many different chocolates are created for special occasions, with choices for platonic, professional, and romantic relationships.
While this may sound completely unfair, White Day is celebrated exactly a month later, on March 14th. Men who receive a gift are expected to bring a gift to that same woman, but with a present that is worth at least three times the value of the one they received.