Three Valentine’s Day Traditions You Never Knew About

Durban, South Africa is the gateway to the Zulu Kingdom, home to the country’s largest ethnic group. One of the Zulus’ time-honored practices is beading, a tradition passed on from generation to generation. But did you know that the color and patterns of the beadwork are used to communicate women’s interest to potential partners?  They call these the Zulu Love Letter.  A beaded rectangular flap contains the “message” which is attached to a narrow band of beads. When used in a positive way, each color of beads is chosen to convey a specific meaning: white shows purity, faithfulness and true love. Black indicates marriage and regeneration. Blue conveys fidelity while green is contentment and yellow is the color of wealthy and fertility.  If you’re interested in creating your own Zulu Love Letter, you can join a beading workshop at the Ohlange Institute on Old Main Road, Inanda, Durban.

In China, The Sisters’ Meals Festival celebrated by the Maio minority people is a celebration of love and spring and is regarded as the oldest "Valentine's Day" of China. The celebration usually lasts for three days, starting with the 15th day of the third month in the lunar calendar. Several days before the festival, Miao girls collect fresh flowers and leaves such as daylily and maple leaf from the mountains to produce natural coloring for dying rice red, yellow, blue, orange and black, a creation known as “sisters’ rice.The result is Five Color Glutinous Rice, an auspicious food symbolizing a good harvest.

Valentine’s Day is known as “El Día del Amor y Amistad” in Ecuador. Popular in the United States, Ecuadorian roses find their way into many celebrations in their home country, often accompanied by Ecuadorian cocoa and chocolates. To enjoy these roses, particularly in the cold of a North American winter, you can select from the best at this new site  Equally wonderful, shipping is free to the U.S.


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