For some, Valentine’s Day or a romantic getaway includes gorging on Belgian chocolates, kissing teddy bears, popping champagne and bouquets of roses. If this is all a bit dull for you, we’ve rounded up some of the unusual, quirky and downright weird ways to celebrate love around the world this year.
Take your date on a date and split a date shake in Greater Palm Springs
Greater Palm Springs is an ideal destination for a date—both the romantic kind and the creamy, caramel kind. Enjoy a taste of nostalgia with a date shake at the famous Shields Date Garden in Indio—the perfect outing for anyone looking to satisfy their sweet tooth. Stroll through the gorgeous gardens and pop on over to the Shields café to romantically share a famous Shields Date Shake, a signature regional delicacy that makes delicious use of one of the region’s top crops.
Not feeling the love? Buy a rat and name it after your ex in Virginia
If you’re healing from a breakup with a cheat, liar or a rat, Virginia Aquarium invites the jilted, the scorned, the recently dumped and the generally cynical to celebrate in a unique and vengeful way: Buy a feeder rat and name it after your ex. If a rat doesn’t quite fit the profile, you can also choose a cricket, herring or worm!
Break the gender norms in Nara, Japan
While cherry blossoms, lantern lit walks and stunning sunsets make for a romantic getaway in Nara, Japan, it also has another unique Valentine’s Day tradition. In Japan gender roles are actually reversed and it is the women who bear the pressure of giving gifts on this day of love. The differences do not end there- the type of chocolate given that counts. Husbands and boyfriends may receive hand delivered honmei-choco chocolate while if you’re unlikeable you may end up with ‘obligation chocolate’ known as cho-giri choco. Ouch.
Dine in the dark in Dallas, Texas
You know what they say: Love is blind. Take ‘blind dating’ literally at one of the secret dine in dark at one of many locations offering ‘Dinner In the Dark’ experiences such as The Tower Club and other secret locations. You may wonder what the benefits are and how the heck you’re supposed to eat without being able to see, but the absence of distractions promotes the idea that eating in the dark heightens diner’s senses making for a more pleasurable experience. The focus is instead on taste, smell, and sound, as well as promoting the art of conversation. Diners enter a warmly lit room and will be accompanied by waiters and seated before being blindfolded and plunged into total darkness to enjoy this unique culinary experience.
Juliet’s Balcony And Breast
This beautiful tradition centres around one of the greatest love stories of all time – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Each year thousands flock to Verona’s Casa di Giulietta, a 14th century house believed to have belonged to the Capulets.
As seen in the movie, Letters to Juliet, people place notes in-between the walls underneath the balcony, where Juliet was once wooed by her Romeo. There is also a statue of Juliet which is said to bring good fortune to those unlucky in love after rubbing the right breast of the statue.
A key feature in Arabic, African, and Hindu cultures is the custom of women adorning themselves with intricate henna patterns before their wedding. This is said to signify the bride’s beauty, womanhood and worth, so naturally each bride aims to have the most elaborate design.
The tattoos represent an empowering, sensual quality in Swahili culture, as the design often conceals the groom’s initials in a secret spot on the bride’s body.