Wife-Carrying, Rosary Clutching, Speed Dating: Valentine's Day Is A Global Affair

Whether you're getting wined and dined or just indulging your inner wino this Valentine's Day, you might be curious to know how folks around the world are getting their rocks off this February 14th. Did you know that Valentine's Day, though initially celebrating a Christian martyr, was first linked to romance by Chaucer? So if you hate this crappy, commercialized farce of love, blame his Canterbury Tales-writin' ass. Anyway, from teens giving blood and husbands carrying their wives in China to speed dating on Bondi Beach in Australia, we've got a rundown of what's going down this V-D, after the jump.

  • Australia: newspapers ran sweet musings from lovebirds, like this one, from a dude named Johnny — "I love 2 Things. Cars & u." Swoon! Also, hopeful singletons did some speed dating on gorgeous Bondi Beach. Not a bad way to ring in the 14th.
  • China: couples in Hong Kong have co-opted the Finnish Tradition of wife-carrying. It's pretty self-explanatory: you race against other dudes whilst carrying your wife. According to Reuters, the tradition dates back to the 19th century, when bandits used to steal wives from neighboring villages. In northern China, V-day is a leeetle bit more staid. In Ching Mai, teens are giving blood in a campaign called "I'd rather lose blood than virginity."
  • Japan: Valentine's Day is only celebrated by women in Japan — men give their honeys presents in March on a day called "White Day." 500 women went to a mountain shrine called Kuzuryu to pray for love. "I prayed for the man I love to fall in love with me," 25-year-old Ayumi Sakai told Reuters. Aw! Girl, find yourself a man who loves you back instead of going to a shrine to pray for this loser. But that's just my opinion.
  • Kenya: after several months of ethnic clashes, Nairobi flower mongers are preparing gift baskets of red roses. (Those flowers should totally make the 45 women raped each day during the current Kenyan violence feel so much better!)
  • Philippines: In this very Catholic country, the Cardinal suggests attending mass or saying the rosary to keep your mind off nookie. "It's best to look for honest-to-goodness entertainment," he told Reuters. Sounds... fun.
  • Thailand: the Thai government wants to make sure that teens are not getting it on this V-Day. Every February 14th they turn on all the lights at full blast in public parks and urge parents to make their teens come home early. Oh well, there's always making out in the bathroom at McDonald's!

Love In The Air From Bondi To Bangkok To Beijing [Reuters]
Wife-carrying Valentine Contest [Reuters]
Kenya Embraces Valentine's Day [Reuters]
Rape Is A Weapon Used In Ethnic Violence [AP]
No Sex On Valentine's, Thai Police Warn Teens [Reuters]