Weird ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day
Valentine's Day candy. (BBC)
The Valentine’s Day routine of out-of-season roses and chalk-like candy hearts can get a bit dull. If you are travelling this February, there are plenty of places to take your loved one that offer something a bit different.
From time-tested traditions to quirky events, we have come up with a few weird ways to celebrate Valentine's Day around the world this year.
Your bloody valentine in London, England
A cross between a haunted house and a Medieval history museum, the London Dungeon is a big fan of blood and guts. Its exhibits humorously depict gruesome events of torture, disease, disaster and, of course, zombies. (Think Jack the Ripper, Bloody Mary and special effects galore.) This Valentine's Day, the dungeon is cooking up a gloriously gory treat of human heart cupcakes, baked by Miss Cakehead, a bakery specializing in over-the-top creations. Couples can enjoy the bloody desserts while watching a torturous surgical procedure in the Blood and Guts exhibit.
Reversal of gender roles in Japan
In Japan, the Valentine's Day tradition is for women to buy chocolates for men. It dates back to a custom of women giving "obligation chocolates" to male colleagues and employers, something that began in the 1930s with a push from the confection industry, according to CBS News. Exactly one month later, on White Day, men return the favour by giving women chocolates. The holidays result in a major boon for the chocolate industry which receives a $660 million boost during the Valentine's season.
Ladies talking about their lady-parts around the world
The Vagina Monologues began as a play but has transformed into a worldwide campaign to fight violence against women and girls. V-Day campaigns are taking place this year in countries around the globe, from Kenya to Mongolia to South Korea. The events, which include performances of The Vagina Monologues, anti-violence workshops and documentary screenings, raise money for anti-violence groups working in local communities. Events vary from city to city, so check for detailed info.
Secret admiration in Denmark
In Denmark, young people have developed a playful secret admirer guessing game called Gaekkebrev. Boys and girls write funny rhymes or love notes, but sign them with dots instead of their names. If the recipient guesses who the sender is, she or he gets a prize: an egg on Easter Sunday.
Random hearts in Brazil
Brazil's Valentine's Day, Dia dos Namaorados, or Day of the Enamoured, does not come until 12 June. One tradition practiced by young women is to write the names of their crushes (all of them) down on pieces of paper, fold them up and put them in a hat (or any container). On the 12th, they pick a piece of paper at random. The name they choose supposedly determines who they should marry.
The original Valentine in Dublin, Ireland
If you find yourself in Dublin on 14 February, know that Saint Valentine's remains rest at the city's Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. Pope Gregory XVI is said to have given the church the relics in 1835 to boost Catholicism's popularity. If you would prefer to mix romantic and religious experiences on Valentine's Day, this is your opportunity.
Blind dating in Dallas, Texas
You may have heard about a trend that tests one sense by taking another away. One of the "Dining in the Dark" restaurants, Opaque, is hosting a special Valentine's Day event at its Dallas, Texas location with a four-course menu served in pitch black darkness, creating a very intimate, if unusual, dining experience.
Travelwise is a BBC Travel column that goes behind the travel stories to answer common questions, satisfy uncommon curiosities and uncover some of the mystery surrounding travel. If you have a burning travel question, contact Travelwise.