Other nations’ days of love highlight sex – both (re)productive, and ‘mundane’

Other nations’ days of love highlight sex – both (re)productive, and ‘mundane’

In America, Valentine’s Day is synonymous with couples in cafes, romantic dinners in overly expensive restaurants, mood lighting filling dorm rooms and, of course, those oddly tasty candy hearts.

But is this Hallmark-driven holiday as prevalent in other countries? A survey ofstudents from several nations revealed that when it comes to love, the rest of the world goes both ways.

Blayne Phillips, a freshman chemical engineering major, came to Northeastern from Trinidad and Tobago.

“There’s not much to say about Valentine’s Day in Trinidad,” Phillips said. “When I was a kid, my mom always bought my chocolates [for me].”

Phillips said Carnivale, the biggest festival in Trinidad, overshadows Valentine’s Day. It takes place the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday but the week prior to it is filled with parties.

“There’s a parade where you wear your swimsuit and parade around the whole day, and there’s music and dancing,” he said. The legal drinking age in Trinidad is 18, but Phillips said you could get away with throwing one back even if you were younger during Carnivale.

But Carnivale does have one similarity to America’s Valentine’s day – it’s largely focused on couples and there’s a lot of sex, Phillips said.

“We have this thing called ‘Carnivale babies.’ If you were born around November, October then you’re a Carnivale baby,” said Phillips, born Nov. 6.

Owen Cleaver, a freshman international business major, took the past year off from school to spend it in his birthplace, China.

“There’s no equivalent to Valentine’s Day in China,” said Cleaver. “Only places where it’s really westernized do they celebrate it.”

Russian native Stacy Lapteva, a freshman economics major, experienced first-hand how the westernization of her country brought western holidays with it.

Because St. Valentine is Catholic and most of Russia is Eastern Orthodox, no one really celebrated it before the fall of the Soviet Union, Lapteva said.

“As Russia began to westernize rapidly, people began to recognize it more,” Lapteva said. “1992 was the first time magazines started mentioning it.”

It was also the first time Lapteva and her family had ever heard of the holiday.

She said Russia now celebrates Valentine’s Day just as they do in the United States. Cards, flowers and special nights in clubs are all aspects of a Russian Valentine’s Day.

“The sex aspect isn’t really a big deal,” she said. “In Russia, sex is so mundane in general, there’s no consideration of a special day for it.”

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