Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Valentine’s Day comes with a shed-load of clichés.
Red love hearts are suddenly everywhere - fluffy teddy bears are clutching them, boxes of chocolates are emblazoned with them and explosions of them have gone off in every shop window.
Then of course the restaurants bring out their special lovers’ menus, with the compulsory price hikes just because the calendar reads February 14.
But despair not, there are still some love-celebrating traditions which can give the element of surprise – like these six slightly more unusual Valentine’s-esque rituals from around the globe…
February 14 in Japan is all about the women spoiling the men, with homemade delights and gifts. A month later however, on White Day on March 14, it’s the men’s turn to express their affections and shower the ladies with pressies.
2. South Korea
If you didn’t receive anything on February 14 or March 14? Well there’s always April 14, which is Black Day in South Korea, when singles who didn’t have a Valentine can find comfort (or perhaps not) by tucking into a bowl of dark jajangmyeon noodles.
Wales has its very own version of Valentine’s Day. Dydd Santes Dwynwen, which means St Dwynwen Day, is celebrated on January 25, and a traditional Welsh gift is an intricately carved wooden love spoon. The practice dates back centuries, but love spoons still make popular Valentine’s, wedding and anniversary gifts today.
Forget February 14, June 12 marks Lover’s Day (or ‘Dia dos Namoradosin) in Brazil. On the eve of Saint Anthony's Day, there are carnival-style parties and everyone’s invited. St Anthony was recognised as bestowing blessings for a happy marriage on your couples. Single ladies, however, can perform a ‘simpatia’, a spell, in the hope he’ll bless them with a boyfriend.
5. South Africa
In South Africa, smitten ladies wear their heart on their sleeve – literally. One Valentine’s Day custom sees women pin the name of their love interest onto the sleeves of their clothes. Well, it’s one way to break the ice if your crush isn’t taking the hint…
February 14 is a popular day for weddings. In the Philippines, tying the knot on Valentine’s Day has really taken off – and being quick off the mark to book isn’t important, because hundreds of couples can get together for a mass ceremony. In 2012, more than 2,000 Filipino couples exchanged or renewed their vows in this way.