Love, but Not As You Know It – What Love Means to People Around the World

What Love Means to People Around the World

In Germany, public displays of affection are somewhat rare, whereas couples in Spain openly show their love for one another – even after a long time together – and in Sweden potential couples start out by meeting for a “fika”. Love takes different forms all over the world and there are many different customs. In this article, we reveal how people love in other countries ♥

Dating rituals around the world

In most countries, two people who like each other will meet up in the evening to go out for a meal or to the cinema and usually they will know fairly quickly whether they can imagine starting a relationship or sharing their future with the other person. Yet that’s by no means how things work in every country:


In Sweden, people actually start by meeting for a “fika”. The Swedish word “fika” simply means meeting for a little get-together over a coffee or tea in the afternoon. So unlike a date as we know it, in Sweden people get to know each other in the afternoon – in daylight. It also means there’s no alcohol involved, which gives the Swedes the advantage of getting to know each other with a clear head.

What Love Means to People Around the World


In Brazil, it’s not so much about how a man talks to a woman but more what he says. It isn’t considered at all crude to shower a woman with compliments right from the word go. Quite the opposite. It is seen as a sign of appreciation – even on the very first date. So whilst in Germany this would be seen as an attempt to hit on a woman, in Brazil it is perfectly normal and is simply a part of dating.


In China, they take a very slow approach to dating. According to a Chinese proverb, marriage is like a rice dish that must be brought to the boil slowly. That means people get to know one another very slowly in China. There’s no kissing in the beginning – leave alone sex. The Chinese don’t make a decision one way or another about a partner until they have already met several times.

In Southwest China, there is a very particular ritual. The Miao women cook rice as part of a festival in April. The rice is then wrapped up in a cloth together with chopsticks, garlic, chilli or noodles. If the man finds a chopstick, this is a confession of the woman’s love for him. Chilli and garlic signify rejection, and if he finds needles then the woman is still undecided.


Going out to a restaurant for a first date is an absolute no-no in Thailand. Instead, people cook for a date themselves, as this is seen as a display of love. It doesn’t matter who cooks – either the man does it, or the woman, or they cook together. And it’s actually quite handy to be able to see whether your beloved can rustle something up in the kitchen.

Love around the globe – unusual love rituals

Yet it’s not just dates where there are differences. Relationships are different too. And there are also a few love rituals that you’re certain not to have heard of before:

Whilst most couples kiss each other completely normally, in New Zealand it is considered intimate and a display of love to inhale your partner’s breath. New Zealanders press their noses and foreheads together and one person breathes out, while the other breathes in.

In Finland, too, there was an unusual ritual in former times at least. Girls of marrying age would wear a knife sheath on their belt. If a boy was interested, he would place his knife in the sheath. If the knife stayed there, the girl was in favour of the union. However, if she removed the knife, then the other young men would have another chance as she wasn’t interested.

In Chile, a great deal of importance is placed on dancing in relationships. Besides sex, kissing and cuddling, for Chileans dancing is one of the most intimate things you can do. There’s a reason why there are so many opportunities to move to a tango rhythm in the evenings. Plenty of couples in Chile swear by dancing together.

What Love Means to People Around the World

In Spain, physical contact is considered very important in couples, even after many years. And it’s not just in private, either – physical contact is celebrated publicly, too. The Spanish kiss, hold hands and run their fingers through each other’s hair – and they do it in restaurants, at the park or in cafés.

In India, showing gratitude is the key to a happy relationship. Doing something good for your partner and simply saying “thank you” for the time you’ve spent together is one of the most important relationship rituals in India.

In the Czech Republic, both partners in a relationship are independent, and people therefore make plenty of time for themselves and for their own friends. If you are dependent on your partner and mould your entire life around them, you won’t stand a chance in this country. Because there’s absolutely no place for dependency in love.

In Bulgaria, people are extremely honest in relationships – even when it comes to uncomfortable subjects. This is how people attempt to avoid negative emotions. This is probably especially practical for men who often don’t recognise their partners’ needs correctly. If she says what’s bothering her right at the outset, this avoids any misunderstanding in the first place.

Love can be found all over the world, and essentially what really matters is that two people love each other. Yet there are differences in how we love and how relationships begin. The main thing, though, is being happy in a relationship

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