International students talk Valentine’s Day across cultures

Katia Rodriguez

From one side of the world to another, Valentine’s Day is celebrated throughout different cultures, even at Kent State.

The Global Village and The International Student Council hosted a Valentine’s Romance event to bring community for international students at Clark Hall. At the event, people talked to one another about their cultures, decorated cookies and participated in a speed friending activity.

At the event, Abdullah Albahlouli, a junior accounting major from Oman, said his culture celebrates Valentine’s Day, however it is not a big deal compared to the United States. He describes Valentine’s Day in Oman as a day for couples. He noticed coming to the United States that “people are trying to find someone. It is important to find someone. But back home, if you don’t have someone, then you don’t celebrate it (Valentine’s Day).”

Soobin Lee, a freshman international student from South Korea, said Valentine’s Day is celebrated three times a year on the 14th of February, March and April.

“On Valentine’s Day in South Korea, the girls give chocolate” to their significant other, Lee said.  

On March 14, White Day, “the guys give something to the girls,” Lee said. According to CNN Travel, Chupa Chups is the most sold candy on this day. The gift is usually candy and never chocolate. Going on dates is also involved on both days.

On April 14, an unofficial holiday, Black Day, is for the singles in South Korea. Those who do not receive gifts on the previous two days, Valentine’s and White Day, gather with one another and eat Jajangmyeon, which is noodles with black sauce.

In Brazil, Dia dos Namorados is celebrated June 12, according to junior fashion design major Marcelle Piccini.

The celebration translates to English as “Lover’s Day” or “Couple’s Day.” Instead of celebrating St. Valentine, Brazilians celebrate the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day to bless young couples into a happy marriage.

Valentine’s Day is not celebrated because the date commonly falls during Brazilian Carnival. Dia dos Namorados is not as big as Valentine’s Day is in the U.S., but it is still celebrated.

Katia Rodriguez covers international students. Contact her at [email protected].