February 14th is Valentine’s Day, and though celebrating Valentine’s Day has only become popular within the last few decades in Germany, there are several traditions Germans have taken on wholeheartedly. This includes giving cards, sweet treats and flowers to their loved ones on this special day.
As the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day is quite recent in Germany, there are not so many traditions connected with it. This day is really aimed towards adults only; children at schools do not exchange little heart shaped cards, as in other countries. It is a strictly “adult matter”. But still the card-giving ritual and the little heart-shaped gifts or chocolates, spread out from France and England, are also common for Germans. One can also find a full range of romantic paraphernalia – gifts, cards and chocolates specifically made for Valentine’s Day.
There is a curious twist to Valentine’s symbols in Germany: little pigs offering flowers, or others laying down on chocolate hearts rather provocatively. There is a double meaning there: that of luck and lust. Sometimes with the Valentine, there are some pigs holding a four-leaf clover while climbing a little ladder on a heart.
There is another interesting attribute of Valentine’s Day in Germany – big ginger cookies, made in the shape of a heart and decorated with frosting. They usually contain a few words written on them expressing one’s feelings or even more straightforward messages describing the lover’s intentions. These cookies are available for sale before Christmas too, but they are the most popular on Valentine’s Day.