Valentine’s day is a special occasion that is celebrated the world over. In fact, it’s one of the most popular occasions around the world, up there with traditions like Christmas and New Year’s. It’s commonly seen as a time of celebrating relationships and love. Although Valentine’s Day traditions vary from country to country, they often involve someone one asking another to be their Valentine.
So how do you ask that special someone to be your valentine or is there another tradition you should be aware of in other cultures? We asked a selection of language experts to translate “Will you be my valentine” and provide some background information for the translations.
Valentine’s Day in 20 Languages
We’ve added a note when the translation isn’t exactly the same as asking “Will you be my Valentine?”
|English||Will you be my Valentine?||Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 in English-speaking countries. It usually involves spending time with a loved one and the sharing of gifts like cards, red roses and chocolate.|
|Danish||Glædelig Valentinsdag*||In Denmark, Valentine's Day is called Valentinsdag, and you’d generally say “Happy Valentine’s Day”. It’s a relatively new tradition inspired by the US and romantic movies. Typically, it involves roses, chocolate or going out on a date.|
|Swedish||Massor av kärlek på alla hjärtans dag!**||In Sweden, Valentine's Day is known as Alla hjärtans dag (all hearts' day). The concept was introduced by businesses in the 60s but didn't take off until in the 90s. It's a day when the sale of red roses peaks and many couples treat themselves to a nice meal out.|
|Norwegian-Bokmal||Vil du bli min Valentin?||Valentine’s day became popular in Norway a few years ago and is known as Valentinsdagen or Alle hjerters dag (All hearts’ day).|
|Finnish||Hyvää ystävänpäivää!*||In Finland, Valentine's Day is called ystävänpäivä which translates into “Friend's Day”. You’d normally wish someone a happy Valentine’s Day. The day is more about friends than significant others. Many send postcards or messages to their friends telling them how important they are.|
|German (Germany)||Willst du mein Valentin(sschatz) sein?||Valentine´s Day is called Valentinstag in German and has only become popular within the last few decades. There are several traditions Germans have taken on wholeheartedly, such as giving cards, sweets and flowers to their loved ones and celebrating romance.|
|Dutch||Wil jij mijn Valentijn zijn?||In The Netherlands, we celebrate Valentijnsdag (Valentine’s Day) on February 14. It’s the day of romantic love when, especially, secret lovers express their feelings.|
|French||Veux-tu sortir avec moi pour la Saint-Valentin?||Valentine’s Day is called Saint-Valentin in French. This is also the name of a small town in France which is considered to be the city of lovers and attracts couples from all over the world to get married surrounded by romance.|
|Tagalog||Gusto mo ba akong maka-date sa Araw ng Mga Puso?||Valentine's Day is called Araw ng mga Puso in the Philippines. School children make cards for their classmates, teachers and parents. People give red roses, chocolates and teddy bears. Dinner dates at restaurants are also popular among couples.|
|Italian (Italy)||Cosa fai a San Valentino?||Known in Italy as La Festa Degli Innamorati, Valentine's Day is celebrated by couples and lovers. People plan romantic dinners or go to the cinema and give each other flowers and boxes of chocolate.|
|Spanish (Spain)||¿Quieres ser mi pareja?||In Spain, Valentine's Day is known as Día de San Valentín or Día de los enamorados. It has been celebrated since 1948, after a large-scale advertising campaign by a department store. It usually involves sharing gifts like cards, red roses and chocolate.|
|Portuguese (Portugal)||Queres namorar comigo?||In Portugal, Valentine’s day is known as Dia dos Namorados (Lover's Day). It’s celebrated by couples who usually go out for a romantic dinner and exchange presents to show their appreciation for one another.|
|Portuguese (Brazil)||Quer namorar comigo?||In Brazil, Valentine’s Day (February 14) is not an important date, we only know it from movies and English classes. Instead, we celebrate Dia dos Namorados (Lovers’ Day) on June 12. This is a very busy day for retail, restaurants and hotels. Namorar expresses the act of having a loving relationship in Portuguese.|
|Greek||Θέλεις να γίνεις ο Βαλεντίνος μου;||In Greece, Valentine’s Day is also called Η γιορτή των ερωτευμένων (Lovers’ Day). It is mostly celebrated by young people and new couples. Celebrations involve red roses, gift giving and romantic candlelit dinners.|
|Russian||Будешь моей Валентинкой?||In Russia, Valentine’s day is known as День Святого Валентина (St. Valentine’s Day) as well as День влюбленных (The Lovers’ Day). It’s celebrated with gifts, flowers, chocolates, romantic dinners, movies and even marriage proposals. Some Russians consider Valentine’s Day to be too Western and commercial, and would rather Peter and Fevronia Day on July 8 is celebrated instead.|
|Polish||Będziesz moją Walentynką?||Walentynki is a relatively new celebration in Poland. It’s an opportunity for young people to send anonymous love notes and adults to go out for a romantic dinner. Women receive flowers and window displays are decorated with hearts.|
|Japanese||ヴァレンタインの本命はキミ||Valentine's Day is the most romantic day of the year in Japan. Traditionally, it’s seen as embarrassing for a girl to say "I love you" to someone. But on this day, every girl is encouraged to express her love. Valentine’s Day began as the day for couples in love, but today, we share presents with friends, family, and others.|
|Chinese (Simplified)||你愿意和我过情人节吗？||In China, we have our own Valentine’s Day which is called Double Seventh Festival. It’s on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month and originates from a very old tale. More and more Chinese celebrate this traditional festival. As for the Western Valentine’s Day, it’s widely celebrated by young people who, just like Westerners, send roses to girlfriends for example.|
|Turkish||Sevgililer günün kutlu olsun||In Turkey, Valentine’s Day is called Sevgililer Günü (Lover’s Day). On this day, you surprise your significant other with a gift, an evening out or another suitable present and wish them a happy Valentine’s Day.|
|Korean (South Korea)||밸런타인데이를 함께 보내주실래요?||In South Korea, Valentine's Day is called 밸런타인데이, a word borrowed from English. The day relates to love, but it’s all about the men. A woman normally gives a box of chocolate to her boyfriend or to a man whom she wants to ask out.|
* Happy Valentine’s Day!
** Lots of love for Valentine's Day!