With the exception of Colombia, Feb. 14 is Día del Amor y la Amistad (Day of Friendship and Love) in South America. Many people participate in an amigo secreto exchange, which is much like Secret Santa in the US.
Source: Etsy User madebyjackie
In Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador, Feb. 14 is also the Day of Friendship and Love. While it is very similar to Valentine's Day in the US, acts of appreciation among friends are a large part of the day.
Source: Flickr User Sebastian-Dario
Gaekkebrev is a Danish tradition where the young and smitten write love letters and poems without signing them. Instead, they cryptically work their names onto the paper with tiny dots, so the recipient must guess who the sender is. And now it gets wonderfully weird: if the recipient correctly guesses, then he gets an Easter egg come Easter.
Source: Flickr User Lauramakira
If you've never wondered where the expression "wearing your heart on your sleeve" comes from, then you're about to find out anyway. In addition to standard Valentine fare, some South Africans participate in the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia, where young women pin their Valentine's name on their sleeves.
Source: Flickr User lauren
A Japanese candy company started a tradition in 1960 where women would give men chocolate on Feb. 14. On March 14 (White Day), men would return the favor, except with white chocolate. See America isn't the only country where holidays are sold!
Source: Flickr User Sifu Renka
Valentine's Day isn't too big in Catalonia, but that's because it has La Diada de Sant Jordi in April. It's like Valentine's Day in that men give women chocolate and flowers, but women give men books.
Once again, it goes back to marketing. In 1923 a bookseller wanted to honor Shakespeare and Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, who both died on April 23, 1616. Thus the book exchange was born.
Source: Flickr User Chocolate Geek
The flower industry launched All Hearts Day on Feb. 14 in the 1960s, largely in response to the popularity of American culture. Today flower sales in Sweden for All Hearts Day are second only to Mother's Day.
Source: Flickr User Ms. HC
Contrary to popular belief, the Valentine's Day card was not created by Hallmark but by a Frenchman. In 1415 Charles, Duke of Orleans, is said to have sent the first Valentine to his wife to tell her not only how much he loved her, but also that he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Two birds, one card.
Source: Etsy User pincushioned
Italians pretty much regard Valentine's Day as an imported US holiday; however, many can't resist giving out these sweet treats. Baci Perugins are chocolate-covered hazelnuts that contain a piece of paper with quotes from romantic poems.
Source: Flickr User newyork808