Romantic traditions from around the world
If you've been in a relationship long enough, you may well be wondering how to show the one you love just how much you care. But instead of relying on clichés and turning up with flowers and chocolates, why not take inspiration from some of the world’s most romantic gestures, guaranteed to truly impress:
1) Impress them with a tooth from a massive whale
In Fijian courtship, nothing suggests greater a love than the offering of a Tubua, or a sperm whale tooth. It is believed that when the tooth has been smoothed and polished it becomes incredibly powerful and significant so anyone who receives a Tabua from a potential or current suitor should feel incredibly flattered.
Given that the sperm whale is the world’s largest toothed predator, the effort required to attain one of its teeth certainly beats that of buying a petrol station card!
2) Create a game for two
Though Valentine’s Day has only recently become a fixture in the Danish calendar, this hasn’t stopped Scandinavian romantics from embracing it. Admirers give their intended a gaekkebrev, or ‘joke letter’, which is an anonymous poem or rhyme decorated with cut-out patterns.
If the receiver correctly guesses the identity of the gaekkebrev sender, then the poem-giver will reward them with a chocolate egg on Easter Sunday. However, if they do not guess correctly, it is they who must give the sender an egg.
3) Carve him a kitchen utensil
Nothing says ‘D’win Caru ti’ quite like a personalised carved spoon, well at least not according to Welsh tradition. The giving of lovespoons in Wales dates back hundreds of years when men (often sailors with long journeys in which to kill time) would carve intricate designs symbolising their love, their plight and other religious and Celtic imagery into wooden spoons for their beloveds.
Today you can buy them ready carved (if you haven’t a long journey booked anytime soon) and they can be given to either gender.
4) Carry them
Why stop at carrying your partner’s heart with you wherever you go, when you could actually pick them up and carry them?
Well, in Finland that’s exactly how couples can express their love for each other with the annual wife carrying championships. You must fling your wife (or your neighbour’s!) over your shoulder and complete an obstacle course and if she’s not impressed enough by the athletic feat you have just completed, she may well be interested in the wife’s weight of beer the victor wins.
5) Sing and dance for her
If you really want to impress the girl you are after, you could do a lot worse than taking a leaf out of a Nigerien man’s book.
At the Gerewol Festival in Niger, the Wodaabe men decorate themselves with makeup and costumes then sing and dance in a line in the hope of being picked by a partner. To demonstrate their stamina and undying interest in their potential partners the participants keep going for hours on end in the blistering heat over a seven day period, which is a pretty big statement of love.
6) Pick them off a TV show
In India demonstrating love can really be as simple as picking up your phone, calling a premium number and selecting the partner you’ve just seen on a TV screen. A presenter describes the singles they have that day, including their height, wage and weight, and viewers can call up if they are interested.
The show is insanely popular with around 10 million viewers a week and it would be a corker of a tale to tell the grandchildren.
7) Buy them some more RAM
And finally, if all the huge gestures in the world aren’t enough to please your human partner, then simply make a nod to the Japanese and upgrade your virtual partner. As the young people of Japan’s ambivalence to courting other human beings has prevailed, the rise in virtual lovers has increased, and instead of fancy gifts all they require is the occasional charging session and software upgrade, which could be just the thing if none of the above ideas work out!