They say love is blind so it doesn’t really matter how difficult or expensive your display gets, just make sure it proves to your partner how much you love them. Now, every community around the world has their way of proving their love and commitment to their partner. In the US, jumping the broom may be it for some while in Germany, some suitors prefer sending their partner’s pig-themed gifts. Things get tougher when you visit the Banyankole community in Uganda where the groom may be required to “do it” with the bride’s aunt to prove his stamina for him to marry the love of his life. Some romantic gestures are not that tough though but you have to love all of them…
Love Locks: France
The bridge on the Notre Dame River is one of the oldest love lock bridges in Europe and it is probably the host for the most failed promises when the owners of those locks separate. Parisians are the owners of most of the locks although tourists take part in the tradition too. All you need to do is get a padlock with your initials and those of your partner inscribed on it and then lock it on any free spot you get on the bridge. You then throw away the key to signify that you intend your relationship forever.
Male beauty pageant: Niger
The festival known as the Guerewol is an important part of many communities in West Africa including the Tuaregs. The festival can go on for a whole week when young men who have been initiated get the chance to woo their would-be lovers by showing off their best features and dance moves at the local markets. The jury of three ladies will choose the winner between the group of men often painted in yellow or red with lips and eyes painted black to emphasize the whiteness of their eyes and teeth.
You also need a beautiful head scarf and a feather to make yourself look taller because the taller you are, the more likely you are to get your dream woman. The men also have to perform a dance to traditional music known as Yakee and the winner gets to choose the woman they like most. The ladies also watch the event and get to choose their preferred man.
The whipping contest: Kenya
Among the Pokot people, when a man has chosen his bride, it is very important to ensure that there is no competition from the other agemates in the community. In case two men find themselves trying to woo the same lady, it is customary to “whip” out as men. Every suitor gets his boys and they all arm themselves with sticks and then meet in the village square with the bride and her friends watching. The men then start whipping each other with sticks until one group surrenders and with that, they lose their claim to the bride. The Fulani people in West Africa also have a similar contest.
Wife carrying contest: Finland
Sonkajärvi, Finland is the town that hosts these contests every year and people from all over the world go there to witness it. It is all about the husband having as much stamina as possible because they have to haul their wives over their shoulders and complete various tests. It requires lots of athleticism and probably, a manageable spouse if you are to win a 100-meter race with your wife on your shoulders. You may also have to carry her past hurdles, through a mud pit and jump over obstacles among other tough tests. The winner ultimately gets their spouse’s weight in beer which may sound trivial but it is very important to the locals.
This tradition was started by Welsh sailors who would hand-carved spoons from a piece of wood and create symbols into the spoon to send their message of intention to their possible wives. Carving a horseshoe into your spoon would mean you want good luck for the recipient, a diamond would mean wealth and good fortune while an anchor would signify security. It was a difficult job carving out your perfect spoon from a piece of wood which is why rejection would be heartbreaking. People still present love spoons to people they care about although most people now buy them from woodcarving shops.
White Day: Japan
This tradition is also observed in South Korea and it is all about doing something special for your significant other. There is a day for the ladies and a day for the gents so there is no gender bias here. It is all about getting your partner a chocolate and a gift because it is a version of Valentine’s Day. previously the chocolate would be home-made but nowadays, you can just buy. Usually, it is the ladies’ turn to get the gifts on the 14th of March. The gentlemen are then expected to reciprocate 10 days later with gifts worth double whatever your lady presented
Whale’s teeth gifts: Fiji
Tabua is the tooth of a sperm whale and getting one is a feat because unless you are lucky enough to find it from a beached whale, you may have to dance and fight with the giants in the water for a tooth. The tooth is still highly valued in Fiji and often presented as a sign of peace or even compensation for a big loss such as killing someone. The most common use for the tooth is presenting it to your bride-to-be’s father as a way of asking for her hand in marriage. Considering the cost of getting a tooth, they will most likely say yes.
Tears of joy: China
If you find someone that really touched your heart, it is normal to cry which is why so many people cry at weddings and when they are proposed to. Among the Tujia people of Central China, it is customary for the bride-to-be, aided by her mother and other relatives to shed tears of joy for about a month before her marriage. The crying expresses her joy at getting married while also displaying sadness at leaving her family. The crying has a little singing in it with tears as well and a “good wife” has to do both perfectly.
The bridesmaid blockades: China
Being the bride’s maid in a Chinese wedding is a tough job because you have to guard the bride and test her groom. One of the things the bride’s maids and sometimes the bride’s family do is block the door to the bride’s room. The groom and his groom’s men then have to push and coarse their way there. It shows that the maids and the family are not willing to let their loved one go but in real sense, they want you to “bribe” them to leave the door by giving them red envelops with money. If she has may maids, then you can be sure that you will have to spend a lot.
May tree romance: Germany
These trees are called May trees and they are a tradition in Rhineland Germany going way back to the 17th century. The Birch trees have to be set up before the 1st of May. The chap needs to get his buddies to carry out the task. They go to the female partner’s house and then set up the birch trees with decoration in a heart shape. The decorations need to carry the true message of the man’s love, so they have to do a good job if the message is to get home.
Do you know of any other romantic gestures that should have made this list? Do let us know in the comments below!