Express your affection with a tasteful Jeremy Corbyn pillow © Books by the Sea/Amazon
Express your affection with a tasteful Jeremy Corbyn pillow © Books by the Sea/Amazon

Valentine's Day around the world

13 February 2017

US consumers will be tightening their belts on the most romantic day of the year, but how will other countries celebrate being loved-up?

Whether you’ve been madly in love for years or just recently struck by Cupid’s arrow, the National Retail Federation says that expressing it will probably cost the average American $136.57.

That’s down from last year’s all-time record, when a total of $19.7bn was spent on candy, flowers and the whole celebration. This year that figure is expected to be $18.2bn. Despite the drop those in the US will still be spending more than Brits, who when surveyed by website Groupon said they were only willing to spend just under £50 on their significant others.

Love it or hate it, hopeless romantics will be swooning around the world celebrating their own variation of the heart-shaped holiday in a variety of interesting ways—even if the origin of Valentine’s Day isn’t 100% clear.

According to TIME, in Japan Western conventions of wooing are turned on their head, with women spending an average $56 on men. Different chocolates represent different kinds of relationships from ‘giri-choko’, an obligation chocolate for people without romantic interest, to ‘honmei-choko’, a handmade chocolate gifted only to lovers.

This tradition continues in South Korea, where women shower their partners with chocolates, but in a twist, singletons celebrate single life by tucking into the black noodle dish ‘jajangmyeon’ as a sign of mourning, but at least they’re a bargain at $5 a pop.

If your vision of the day is slightly on the cynical side, then China’s answer to the mushiness – a cold-hearted capitalism – is for you. On Single’s Day, internet users spend an average $226 on themselves as an obscure ‘anti-Valentine’s’ celebration.

Not all celebrations have to come with a price tag—in Wales, Valentine’s Day is honoured by the gifting of spoons, but not one you can buy. In their age-old tradition, men would carve intricately designed spoons and present them to the woman they were interested in.

If you really despise anything romantic and want to spend $0 and no time with your significant other, move to Saudi Arabia. The country is Valentine’s Day’s answer to the Grinch, with strict laws that making it illegal for men and women to be affectionate in public.

But those in the Middle East of a romantic persuasion can always nip across to the UAE, where you can treat your valentine to a $63 Burj Khalifa burger capped with an edible 24-carat bun, or chocolate, aged in Spanish elm, a snip at $270 for a 50g bar.

If you’re closer to the UK and you’re strapped for cash, there is always that Jeremy Corbyn pillow on Amazon for £8.99.

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