Courting customs around the world


a couple in italy walking along the bridge hand in hand While love is universal, romance certainly takes a variety of forms around the world. In celebration of cultural diversity, and to coincide with A Taste of Harmony week, here are some of eharmony’s favourite and fascinating courting, love and marriage customs. For anyone looking to woo their crush with sweaty apple slices, carved wooden spoons or sticky rice, read on!

Japan – chocoholic

In Japan, attraction starts with chocolate. On Valentine’s Day, Japanese ladies are to buy white chocolate for their crush as a sign of showing affection. One month later on White Valentine’s Day – celebrated in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China – if interested, the chosen Valentine must then buy twice as much chocolate for her! Way to break the ice, err, chocolate!

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Austria – apple of my arm 

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but Austrian men might think otherwise. Back in the days of yore, ladies were to rock up to ballroom dances with slices of apple under their armpits. After a boogie, they removed their (sweaty) apple slices, and shared with the man they fancied. If she too was the Apple of his Eye, he would take a bit and eat away.  Fortunately, Austrians no longer follow this custom. Today’s love birds prefer to linger over one of Austria’s sweetest inventions – Vienna coffee.

France – Wine and Dine

They’re considered the most romantic men in the world, and there’s a reason for it; it’s custom for French men to treat their dates to a chivalrous five-course meal. A salad with vinaigrette is served to start, followed by a main course, cheese course, dessert course and coffee. Ladies are always served first – in fact, it’s considered bad-mannered for women to pour their own drink! French men are also much more forward than most in their idea of romance; famed for their vast bouquets, moonlight walks and spontaneous evenings.

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China – sticky rice

The girls of the Miao ethnic group in Southwest China have a very unique way of showing their love. During their Sisters’ Meal festival in April – their equivalent of Valentine’s Day – the girls dress ornately, cook lots of sticky rice and roll it into a handkerchief, for the suitors who serenade them. If the suitor finds two red chopsticks in his rice, it means she likes him back. Woe to the men who find garlic or chili in their rice; he’s just been flat-out rejected!

Wales – love spooning

When Welsh couples talk about “spooning,” they’re not talking cuddling. Since at least the 17th century, the Welsh have exchanged “lovespoons”; intricately hand-carved wooden spoons, as a sign of romantic intentions. Young men spent hours meticulously crafting their spoons so they could offer their crushes the most magnificent utensil imaginable. If the gal accepted the spoon, the courtship was on. The courtship aspect of the spoons has since faded, but love spoons are still given on special occasions as tokens of admiration and affection.

Heard of any other dating customs? Tell us in the comments below or join the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.

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