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How Love Is Demonstrated Across The World

By Kanyinsola Olagoroye
01 August 2022   |   5:19 am
Love involves a range of strong and positive emotional affection toward someone or something. Our culture goes a long way in influencing the way we show our love for others, because culture is the social behaviour of humans. People from different cultures around the world show love in different, sometimes bizarre ways. These are eleven…

Love involves a range of strong and positive emotional affection toward someone or something.

Our culture goes a long way in influencing the way we show our love for others, because culture is the social behaviour of humans.

People from different cultures around the world show love in different, sometimes bizarre ways.

These are eleven ways different cultures express their love for one another:

  1. Zulu love letters, South Africa: Zulu love letters are beadwork messages given by the Zulu maidens to their lovers as a symbol of their love and affection. These beads are made using ucus (single string)The beads colours are a representation of emotions. 
  • White- cleanliness,
  • Black- grief and loneliness, 
  • Yellow- wealth,
  • Green refers to jealousy, 
  • Blue- faithfulness,
  • Pink- abject poverty,
  • Turquoise- impatience,
  • Brown- new life,
  • Red- anger.

Zulu love letters. Photo Woza Moya

  1. Boxed lunches, Japan: Unlike other countries in the world, public affection is a no-no in Japan; it is conventional for women to create packed lunches to show affection for their loved ones. The more decorative the bento (packed lunch) is, the more likely it is to evoke jealousy in other men.
  2. Valentine’s day-esque celebration every month, South Korea: Countries across the world celebrate Valentine’s Day once a year, unlike South Korea, which takes place on the 14th of every month. Besides this, there’s a day set out for singles, a different day for kissing, and a day to hug someone.
  3. Pig presents, Germany: If you present your girlfriend with a pig in Africa you might not get a TLC (Tender loving care), but not in Germany where a swine is an acceptable and much-appreciated gift, which is meant to bring good luck as well as symbolise lust for your partner.
  4. Love whip, Ethiopia: Traditions are one thing that cannot be brushed aside and Ethiopia is another good example of interesting traditions in which women from the Hamar tribe in Ethiopia participate in a tribal ceremony during which they are flogged to show the sacrifices they make for their men. Members of the Hamar tribe believe the elaborate scars demonstrate a woman’s capacity for love, if they fall on hard times later in life, it allows them to call on those who whipped them for help.
  5. Fiji’s whale tooth: Whale teeth were traditionally given as offerings for war or peace, but in this instance, it is used to win over your soon-to-be father-in-law. Presenting him with a polished tooth of a sperm whale will definitely seal the marriage.
  6. Walking barefoot in Slovenia: It is perfectly normal to trudge barefoot across the frozen earth on February 14th each year. Slovenians believe that the birds of the fields propose to their loved ones and get married on this day. Slovenians must walk sockless through wintery fields in order to watch the ceremony of birds, even if it is pelting down with hails.
  7. Love spoon In Wales:It is common for a man to present the girl of his dreams with an intricately carved wooden spoon. This sweet tradition is meant to symbolise that those who present the spoon will always feed and provide for their beloved. Dating back to the 17th century, it was also a way of showing off woodworking skills, as these spoons are very detailed and have a lot of complex motifs carved into them. However, if she does not feel the same way about him, she must return the spoon. Only if the feelings are reciprocated, will she wear the spoon around her neck as a symbol of their relationship.
  8. Love padlocks: Inspired by Federico Moccia’s book and film ‘I Want You’many people began attaching their own love padlocks to the Ponte Milvio in Rome. This worldwide phenomenon has grown intensely, with the tradition spread to France on the Pont desArts Bridge in Paris.

This proclamation of love includes locking the padlock onto the bridge and throwing the key into the river as a symbol of a couple’s unbreakable love and commitment to each other. Unfortunately, in 2007, the then-Mayor of Rome introduced a 50 Euro fine to whoever was found putting a lock on the bridge, and then in 2012, the padlocks were removed in a bid to stop further damage to the ancient structure.

  1. Blackening the bride: A medieval Scottish tradition that is still practised in villages and rural areas, the Blackening of the Bride (and often the groom) is traditionally carried out the day before the wedding. The couple is “captured” by their families and loved ones and covered in an assortment of disgusting items, including rotten eggs, fish, treacle, flour and feathers. They are paraded through the streets so everyone can see them in their messy state. This aims to prepare the couple for their life together and ward off evil spirits.
  2. The Romance of a Chicken Liver, China: The ancient ethnic Daur people of China have a tradition where engaged couples dissect and inspect the liver. If the liver is healthy and in good shape, this is seen as a sign that the relationship will be successful. Once they have found a healthy liver, the couple can set a date for their wedding. If the liver is unhealthy, the engaged couple needs to put a hold on their marriage and try again on another chicken later. When a marriage date is set, the couple will have a feast with their families to celebrate.

These demonstrations of love reveal that people are willing to go an extra mile for their loved ones. Although others may consider them bizarre and sometimes extreme, this is subject to the recipient and the culture within which the action is done.