Illustrator Marie Muravski and jewelry designer Vashi have once again collaborated to give us a behind-the-scenes look at romance around the world. This time they decided to focus on the most lovey-dovey holiday of them all: Valentine’s Day! Though many tend to associate this holiday with February 14th, boxes of chocolate, greeting cards, red roses, and Cupid’s arrow, Muravski’s insightful illustrations put an end to this narrow notion.
In Wales, love is celebrated on January 25th, which is known as St. Dwynwen’s Day. Traditionally, lovers present each other with intricately carved spoons, or lovespoons, to honor a ritual dating back to the 16th century. Though Estonia does observe Valentine’s Day on February 14th, it’s actually their own version of Friendship Day. On this Estonian holiday, friends honor their unique form of love in place of romantic love. As for Valencia, Spain, the most romantic day of the year just so happens to be the Day of Saint Dionysius (October 9th), which is synonymous with festivals and parades. Valencian men also offer their partners a Mocadora, seemingly delicious marzipan figurines that signify their love.
While there are some commonalities when it comes to Valentine’s Day traditions around the world, there are also many differences. Various foods are eaten, different dates symbolize different customs, and love is diversely honored in a way that pays homage to one’s culture. However, despite these distinctions, the world seems to have one specific habit in common: the desire to celebrate the beauty of love.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Vashi’s creative team.