Last year, our Expat Explorer survey revealed some of the most romantic places in the world, based on how respondents answered the question, “Would you agree that you’ve found a life partner in your new country?” According to the findings, the countries where expatriate romance most abounds are Italy, the UK, Russia, China and the Netherlands. On these romantic shores, around half of all expats said they found love!
Italy, perhaps unsurprisingly due to its connotations with all things romantic, was the number one destination for expat love, according to the participants of the Expat Explorer survey. And the Italians can also lay claim to the most romantic day of the year – Valentine was a priest who defied the Roman emperors’ order to ban marriage between lovers during wartime by marrying them illegally in secret. When this came to light, he was put to death on February 14th and later named a saint by Pope Gelasius.
And the most famous story of romance of them all? Romeo and Juliet, of course. In Verona, Valentine’s Day is celebrated with a four-day series of events. A giant red heart is painted in the centre of the main piazza, and heart-shaped lanterns decorate the city.
To do as the Romans do, say: Ti amo
(Image source: creative commons / virussushi)
The Whimsical Welsh
In Wales, Welsh lovers give each other “love-spoons”, an ancient tradition that started when Welsh sailors would carve intricate wooden spoons and present them to a lady they were interested in courting.
The Welsh way: Rwyf wrth fy modd i chi
From Russia with love
Romance is blossoming in Russia, it is still traditionally celebrated in the international fashion of love letters, red roses and candlelit dinners.
To tell them you love them, say: Я люблю тебя (Ya lyublyu tebya) – I love you!
Charmed in China
The Qixi Festival in China celebrates the mythological story of the cowherd and the weaver girl, and falls on the seventh day of the seventh month on the Chinese calendar. The earliest known reference to this famous story dates back to over 2,600 years ago!
On the day, girls prepare beautiful outfits and delicious fruit for Zhi Nu, the enamoured weaver girl, in order to impress her in the hope that she will pass on her masterful sewing skills and luck in love.
Say it in Chinese: wǒ ài nǐ
In the Netherlands, days that celebrate romance are also used to celebrate valued friendships and companionship. The younger generations in particular take the opportunity to hold enormous parties to celebrate their friendship, and understandably this wonderful tradition attracts masses of tourists to boot!
In Dutch: Ik hou van jou!
Do you feel that you live in the most romantic city or country in the world? If so, let us know in comments below!
If you've made the move abroad, we want to hear from you, the 2015 Expat Explorer survey is now open! Take 15 minutes to help fellow expats by letting us know your views on life abroad and spread the word by using #EESurvey15 on Twitter!