In Ireland, many people make a pilgrimage to Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church, which is said to house the relics of St. Valentine, to ask for the saint’s intercession in finding true love.


In Japan, the custom is for women to give chocolates to men on Valentine’s Day. They give inexpensive “giri-choko,” or “obligation chocolates,” to all the men in their social circles (including co-workers!), and higher-quality special chocolates called “honmei-choko” to close friends and love interests. The men reciprocate with gifts of white chocolate a month later, so March 14 is called “White Day” in Japan.

Dominican Republic and El Salvador

Some Latin-American countries, in particular the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, have a tradition called Amigo secreto ("Secret friend"), which is similar to a “Secret Santa.” A group of friends draws names and then each person gives his or her “amigo” a sweet gift.


St. Valentine is a patron saint of Lebanon, so most of the nation celebrates the day, but in different ways. In some regions it’s a romantic day, popular for dinner dates and marriage proposals. In other regions the focus is on family love instead of couples, and people celebrate with their whole families.

Costa Rica, Mexico and Puerto Rico

In Costa Rica, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, St. Valentine's Day is known as a Day of Love and Friendship ("Día del Amor y la Amistad") and the focus is on friendship. On this day, people commonly do "acts of appreciation" for their friends.

The Philippines

In the Philippines, Valentine's Day (called “Araw ng mga Puso”) is the most popular day for weddings of the whole year. Some places even offer group wedding ceremonies for no charge.


In Brazil, the Dia dos Namorados (“Lovers' Day”) is on June 12, the day before the feast of St. Anthony, who is believed to help single women find good husbands.


In Israel, the day to celebrate lovers is called Tu B’Av and falls in early August. A second-century source wrote, “On these days the daughters of Israel/Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)?” Today, Israeli civil culture promotes festivals of singing and dancing on this day, and the entertainment and beauty industries work overtime.