Celebrated annually on 14 February, Valentine’s Day is a tradition observed by couples the world over. Although the origins of Saint Valentine himself were far from romantic, the date has become a popular occasion for people looking to cherish their relationship with that special someone.
Does Australia celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Yes, definitely! Although the day is not a public holiday, many Australians choose to give a gift, go on a date, or embark on a romantic adventure – or all three! – on Valentine’s Day, as a celebration of their love. It’s become something of a cultural ritual alongside Christmas gift-giving and chocolate eggs at Easter. However, as with national public holidays, like Australia Day, you’ll find that not all Australians celebrate the occasion.
How does Australia celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to create new memories with your partner, especially if the date falls on a weekend, as it does in 2021. People gather for picnics in the park, restaurants are booked out for lunch or dinner, and there’s probably more than one rom-com screening at your local cinema.
In shopping centres, you’ll typically see an explosion of red hearts, flowers and other decorations from businesses looking to capitalise on the occasion through Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns.
Going on a date is one of the most common Valentine’s Day activities. If you’ve recently arrived in Australia or have just entered the dating scene, check out our handy guide to dating culture in Australia, which sometimes can prove challenging – especially if there’s a jar of Vegemite involved!
Overall, there are no strict rules on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Australia. Everyone has their own unique way of showing someone that they love them. Don’t think that you have to splurge on an expensive dinner or gifts to celebrate the holiday. There are a number of exciting and thoughtful ways to enjoy Valentine’s Day on a budget.
Valentine’s Day gift ideas
Sending a card, chocolates or jewellery are three common Valentine’s Day gift ideas. But perhaps the most recognisable way of showing someone how you feel is a romantic red rose or colourful floral arrangement.
It’s important to source flowers that meet an ethical standard of practice. If roses aren’t your thing, you can send a bouquet of locally grown Australian wildflowers or chrysanthemums. Don’t forget to support a local florist wherever possible.
Buying the right gift can be a nerve-wracking experience, so you might prefer to make your own gift or enjoy couples activity instead (we run through some options below). If you’re unsure about how much to spend on a present for a loved one on Valentine’s Day (or any occasion during the year), check out our handy gift price guide.
As the cliché goes, at the end of the day it’s the thought that counts, so don’t feel obligated to purchase an expensive gift if you don’t want to.
Valentine’s Day date ideas
You’ve prepared a fantastic gift for your loved one, and you’ve organised to meet for a fun summertime activity – but where do you go?
Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday in 2021, which is great news for anyone looking for a fun yet romantic weekend activity. Outdoors enthusiasts might go on a bushwalk, or a road trip, or visit the beach. Consider bonding with your partner through activities like a cooking class, rock climbing or an escape room. You could even stop by a theme park if you really want to get your hearts racing.
Those looking for a quiet night in might simply pop on a movie or cook dinner together. Alternatively, you could bake some biscuits, organise a picnic or recreate your very first date together. Get creative!
Alternatives to celebrating Valentine’s Day
Celebrating Valentine’s Day isn’t compulsory. Some people may not have anyone to celebrate with, and some may choose not to participate. Why not be your own Valentine and treat yourself to a gift or trip away? Or, consider making a donation to help those less fortunate on this day.
In 2021, Valentine’s Day falls near the beginning of the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated across East and Southeast Asia. In Australia, festivals, concerts and virtual events in honour of the new year in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures are held in capital cities across the country and are a great alternative to participating in Valentine’s Day.
However you choose to celebrate (or not celebrate) Valentine’s Day this year, don’t forget to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and be conscious of the wellbeing of others as much as your own – because isn’t that really what Valentine’s Day is all about?