Candy, poems, and the big confession of love: there's a lot to learn about Valentine's Day in the USA. Find out how you can celebrate February 14th in true American style or at least survive it undamaged as a single person.
There are different theories about the origin of Valentine's Day. The only sure thing is that the Italian church has something to do with it. On February 14th, St. Valentine of Italy is remembered.
In the third century, Valentine is said to have secretly performed marriages for young lovers, despite the Catholic religion's prohibition, which ultimately led to his execution. However, there are several variations of the story, each with different characters and different outcomes.
The trend of written love poems around Valentine's Day arose much later in modern England. Many lovers were unable to write euphonious lyrics themselves to communicate their feelings. Therefore, they enlisted the help of authors and publishers.
The tradition's final commercialization is due to the Americans and their mass printing of poetic Valentine's cards. Since the middle of the 19th century, the lovers' celebration has been one of the most popular holidays among Americans.
Nowhere in the world is Valentine's Day celebrated as wildly as in the United States. Almost like at Christmas, the stores are filled with rose-colored products weeks in advance.
One should not underestimate the seriousness with which the Americans spend this day. If you want to celebrate Valentine's Day in the USA, you have to stock up properly:
The essential equipment of Americans on Valentine's Day includes the obligatory conversation hearts in pastel colors with sweet embossing such as "Be Mine," "I <3 YOU," or even "XOXO."
As they are common in schools in the USA, Valentine's Day buffets cannot do without heart-shaped cakes and cookies. A heart-shaped baking pan will help here.
Nicely wrapped chocolates are most often given away as gifts - either in person or anonymously as "candygrams."
A lovingly designed Valentine's Day card is the key to a perfect Valentine's Day in the USA. Of course, homemade cards are the most beautiful.
But also ready-bought Valentine's cards are not to be despised. Every year, up to 200 million of these Valentine's cards change hands in the USA.
By the way, slightly raunchy joking Valentine's Day cards are incredibly successful in the States.
One explanation: most Americans are somewhat reticent about sexual innuendos during the rest of the year and therefore have to turn up the heat on that one day of the year.
A romantic and cheesy Valentine's Day dinner with your sweetheart is only perfect with the right decoration. In restaurants, this is usually provided in abundance by the operators. At home, perhaps this set of love balloons will do the trick.
The right outfit is also part of a proper Valentine's Day. In this case, the "underneath" often plays a more critical role than the “outside."
We could have pictured many beautiful lingerie pieces on shapely bodies, but we decided to go for these highly erotic heart socks instead.
Many Americans send their "crush" a sign of admiration with a "candygram." The all-American combination of candy and a lovingly designed Valentine's card is widespread in US schools, where the candygram is delivered directly to the classroom.
Most people in love opt for the anonymous variant so that their beloved doesn't find out who is in love with them for the time being.
Valentine's Day is one of the most popular days for marriage proposals in the USA. More than six million Americans are likely to get down on one knee on February 14th. At least, that's what an analysis by American Express suggests.
Good news: Valentine's Day is not just for romantic love victims. Also, the best friend, your grandpa, teacher, and your favorite colleague from the office may and should get a greeting on this day.
Even American schoolchildren grow up with the tradition of crafting and writing piles of greeting cards for classmates, teachers and parents on Valentine's Day.
There are Valentine's Day dress codes, Valentine's Day buffets set up by parents, and real popularity contests - measured by who gets the most Valentine's Day cards.
Whether it's with your crush or friends and family, the main thing to focus on during US Valentine's Day is not sitting at home alone. Here's what's common in the US:
Romantic Valentine's Day dinner:
No rules: cook it yourself, have it delivered, or sit in the park with a picnic blanket - anything is possible.
Watching romantic comedies:
The big movie studios and streaming services like to schedule their releases on Valentine's Day. So there's plenty to smile about in the home theater and on the big screen.
Valentine's Day getaway:
An extended, leisurely Valentine's Day with the family is also trendy. The "framily" (i.e., the surrogate family made of friends) can join in as well.
Going to church on Valentine's Day:
Many religious Americans are drawn to church on Valentine's Day, even though it is not a religious holiday. Often, Catholic churches offer special services with a blessing for lovers.
Anti-Valentine's Day activities:
Valentine's Day can also be annoying. Anyone who has no desire for cheesiness can therefore join the anti-Valentine's Day movement.
Valentine's Day haters give each other ironic anti-gifts, inedible sweets, and hate poems with bad-tempered messages. Also widespread are karaoke nights with anti-love songs and events with free admission for anyone who presents a photo of their ex-partner.
Bargain shopping with Valentine's Day discounts:
If you're tired of Valentine's Day's interpersonal aspects, head to the Internet and cash in. Every brand that can be even slightly associated with human affection is giving hefty discounts around Valentine's Day.
Subscribe to your favorite brands' newsletters two weeks in advance to make sure you don't miss out on the right bargains.
Months in advance, many Americans mark Valentine's Day in the calendar to allow enough time for preparations. The following things are included:
Asking someone out on a Valentine's date
Crafting Valentine's Day cards (including buying materials)
Writing or researching poetry
Finding the right Valentine's Day outfit
Finding the right decorations
Booking tickets or places to go out together
Valentine's Day has a significant meaning in the USA. That's why you should know the most critical unwritten laws about the celebration of love:
Not a day for the first date
The romantic pressure is just too high on Valentine's Day for the first date with someone you don't know. Therefore, you should instead choose another day for the get-to-know-you session.
Don't exclude anyone
Especially among school kids, there's a great danger that someone will be left out while everyone else is competing for popularity with Valentine's cards. Make sure no one in your surroundings is left out.
Rather honest than expensive
A $200 luxury bouquet is no substitute for an honest expression of affection. Therefore, put less commercial stress on yourself and focus more on what you want to express.
It's about them, not you
Everything you do on Valentine's Day has one goal: to show people they are liked and loved. It's not about winning a trophy or conquering someone.
Roses are for lovers only
If you're giving flowers to someone other than your crush or partner, they shouldn't be roses. According to Valentine's Day etiquette, these are sort of reserved for romantic love.
Americans take Valentine's Day to the next level. Here are the funniest facts about the day of lovers in the United States:
On Valentine's Day, the Bronx Zoo in New York City offers to name their over 50,000 giant Madagascar cockroaches symbolically. The gift includes a certificate that a cockroach has been named in honor of your loved one.
Forgetting Valentine's Day can be a breakup reason in the United States. Partners of US Americans should therefore not underestimate the importance of this day.
At least 9 million Americans buy Valentine's Day gifts for their pets. Among the most popular gifts are treats, toys, and cuddle beds.
In the USA, teachers get the most Valentine's Day gifts. In second place are school children. Mothers, wives, and girlfriends come next.
American men spend about twice as much money as women on Valentine's Day.
A Tennessee lawyer gives away a free divorce to a client every year on Valentine's Day.
If you read this article until the end, you are definitely in love with the USA. So are we, which is why we have more exciting facts about life in the USA for you. Check out our Alien in America section.
If you are tired of a long-distance relationship with the country of your dreams, sign up for the Green Card Lottery. With a little luck, you'll soon be united with the love of your life forever.