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Does Germany Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Does Germany Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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Ich Liebe Dich - German Card With Pewter Heart Token by William SturtIch Liebe Dich – German Card With Pewter Heart Token by William SturtIch Liebe Dich - German Card With Pewter Heart Token by William Sturt

It’s that time of year when I get asked, “Does Germany celebrate Valentine’s Day?” Now… I’m not sure if I’m getting the question by people who want to do something “German” for Valentine’s Day… or because people want to use a negative to get OUT of celebrating Valentine’s Day (yes, I’m looking at you…)
So let me clear things up a bit by saying… YES, some Germans do celebrate Valentine’s Day… others don’t.

Let me explain… The history of Valentine’s day in Germany is a fairly recent… but like other “imported holidays” there is some acceptance (see my post on Halloween). Whether you want to celebrate or not is up to you (however, if your significant other wants to celebrate… I suggest you go along, and not make comments like “it’s a Hallmark Holiday” or “the flower stores invented it”…I promise, your day will go a lot smoother).

History of Valentine’s Day in Germany

Ich Liebe Dich Valentines Day GiftIch Liebe Dich Valentines Day GiftIch Liebe Dich Valentines Day Gift

What we have come to know as Valentine’s Day was originally a Pagan celebration called  Lupercalia. On February 15th, to celebrate Spring and Fertility, (presumably) single women would put their names in an Urn, and the men would choose their partner for the year by drawing names. Naturally, the Christian Church needed to put a stop to this. In order to Christianize the day, it was designated, St.Valentine’s day, to commemorate the death of martyred St Valentinus. The confusing part is that there were actually 3 different Saints named Valentinus… but since all three did romantic things in the name of love…. it kind of works. The most famous Valentinus fell in love with his jailers daughter, and sent her notes signed “From your Valentine”…. and that’s why we have cards with that sentiment. (Now, all of you who are pointing out the parallel between a man in jail writing notes, and men today forced to shop for cards can just stop!)

But what does that have to do with Germany?

Frankly, not much.

Valentine’s Day, sending cards, and giving gifts of love became popular in France and England during the Middle Ages, but somehow it missed Germany.

At least, until after World War II. When the French, English and Americans occupied Germany, they brought along some of their traditions (a bit like Halloween). In fact, the first Valentine’s Ball took place in Nuremburg in 1950. From there, things started to grow.



German Valentine Day Traditions

24 Long Stem Red Roses Hand-tied Bouquet -No Vase24 Long Stem Red Roses Hand-tied Bouquet -No VaseSo, Valentine’s Day is not a HUGE German holiday… in fact, less than 40% of Germans will give their special someone a present. (Got to hand it to the Bavarians though, over 50% of them celebrate!).

One main difference between German and American Valentine’s Day celebrations… it tends to be an adult holiday… which means no cartoon cards with a Necco Heart stuck onto it.

That’s not to say that it isn’t sweet… People do exchange cards, give flowers (flowers are always a favorite in Germany!), or go to dinner. Lebkuchen Hearts with loving sayings are hugely popular. Valentine’s Day is a time for romance!

Ich liebe dich - Embossed, engraved rolling pin for cookiesIch liebe dich – Embossed, engraved rolling pin for cookiesIch liebe dich - Embossed, engraved rolling pin for cookies

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German Valentine’s Day Gifts

Looking for that perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your favorite German girl or boy?
-Flowers are always appropriate (especially Roses!).
-Lately, good luck piggies, especially those holding hearts or 4 leaf clovers, have become popular gifts for your Valentine.
Lebkuchen Hearts with romantic sayings
German Chocolates in a heart shaped box
-A piece of jewelry
-A nice card
-A Romantic dinner… at home or in a nice restaurant.

Whatever you choose, be sure to include the words… “Ich liebe Dich”….

Ich Liebe Dich coffee mugIch Liebe Dich coffee mugIch Liebe Dich coffee mugIch Liebe Dich German I Love YouIch Liebe Dich German I Love YouIch Liebe Dich German I Love You

Ich Liebe Dich, I Love You German, Typography Poster, Valentines Day DecorIch Liebe Dich, I Love You German, Typography Poster, Valentines Day DecorIch Liebe Dich, I Love You German, Typography Poster, Valentines Day DecorIch Liebe Dich German Washer PendantIch Liebe Dich German Washer PendantIch Liebe Dich German Washer Pendant

 

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Berlin Heart PrintBerlin Heart PrintNecklace Necklace “Love” purple OktoberfestLiebe OrnamentLiebe Ornament

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German Lebkuchen Hearts for Valentine’s Day

Sweets for you Liebchen…

Customized Gingerbread Heart (Lebkuchen) - largeCustomized Gingerbread Heart (Lebkuchen) – large20 Gingerbread Hearts (customized) - Lebkuchen20 Gingerbread Hearts (customized) – Lebkuchen

Valentine Gingerbread HeartValentine Gingerbread HeartValentine Gingerbread Heart

 

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German Valentines Sayings

Want to say I Love you like a German? Learn these sweet expressions and whisper them into your special someone’s ear….

Valentine’s Day= der Valentinstag  
“Alles Liebe zum Valentinstag” (all of my love for Valentine’s Day)

Love= die Liebe
“Ich liebe Dich” (I love you)

Kiss= der Kuss
“Ich möchte dich küssen” (I want to kiss you)

Flower= die Blume
“Ich schenke dir Blumen,weil ich Dich mag/liebe.” (I give you flowers, because I like/love you)

Heart= das Herz
“Du bist in meinem Herzen” ( You are in my heart)

Sweetie= Liebchen /Süße

Angel= Engel

Treasure= Schatz

German Valentine Day Cards

Because sometimes a card says it all… There are quite a few German Valentine Cards to choose from, you are certain to find the right one for you and your special someone.

Love Card - I Love You - Ich Liebe Dich CardLove Card – I Love You – Ich Liebe Dich CardValentine Eco-Friendly Fine Art Wood Greeting CardValentine Eco-Friendly Fine Art Wood Greeting CardGermany ways to say I love youGermany ways to say I love you

 

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I hope I answered the question Does Germany Celebrate Valentine’s Day for you!

However you choose to celebrate… I wish you all  Alles Liebe zum Valentinstag!

Send Valentine Day Gifts from Wisconsin
do germans celebrate valentines day

 



Comment(4)

  1. Hi, i am an German exchange student in america right now, and just wanna add to your post, that not everybody in germany is celebrating the valentines day. as example i’m coming from hamburg pretty much in the north, and there is barliy somebody who celebreta that, so jst sayin maybe u should update your articel a little bit to be more specific.

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