Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh

26 January 2021

One Day

You either love or loathe Valentine’s Day. The cynics among us chalk it up to a marketing gimmick. Whilst others dive right in and enjoy every last drop of romance. Whichever way you look at it, we think that the world needs MORE love now than ever before. 

So if you’re looking for a different way to spend Valentine’s Day this year, why not join us as we take a look at how Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world? We’ve made it easy to celebrate Valentine’s any way you like - cynic or not. As always, Edinburgh has everything you need to celebrate the day of Love, the way that’s right for you.

Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day anyway? 

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It all began with the Roman festival Lupercalia, a celebration of the beginning of Spring. On this feast day, girls and boys' names were drawn at random and paired off. They’d spend the festivities matched, with the hopes they’d fall in love and get married. 

Later, the Roman church chose the date to commemorate St. Valentine who (it is said) befriended and healed his jailer’s sick daughter. The 14 February was soon recognised as a day to show acts of true love for another. 

Valentine’s Day around the world 

In some parts of the world, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on a different day in February, and in some cases a completely different month! If you love the idea of skipping the shmaltz on 14 February, but still want to celebrate love, we’ve found some alternatives that you might enjoy. 

Day of the Rose / Day of the Book (Catalonia)

Armchair Books cr Facebook

In Barcelona and the rest of Catalonia, love is celebrated on April 23. It has 3 different names - La Diada de Sant Jordi (St George’s Day), La Diada de la Rosa (Day of the Rose) or El Dia del Llibre (Day of the Book). Chocolates and heart shaped gifts are given, but the traditional gifts are roses and books. 

Buying Roses in Edinburgh 

There are so many beautiful florists around the city to buy your loved one some roses. 

Rose & Ammi Flowers, Gillespie Crescent, EH10

Rogue Flowers, William Street, EH3

MUD Urban Flowers, delivery only

BUYING Books IN EDINBURGH

Check out our list of independed bookshops in Edinburgh - many will let you place an order online or over the phone.

Discover 6 of Edinburgh's Best Bookshops >

Winemaker’s Day (Bulgaria)

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In Bulgaria, the 14 February is ‘Day of the Winemakers’ where loved up couples come together to break bread and drink a glass or two of local wine. 

Find your next favourite wine in Edinburgh 

Yes, the supermarket shelves are well stocked with wine from around the world, but there’s nothing quite like spending time with an expert in a local bottle shop. Here’s a few of our favourites: 

Vino. A wonderful selection (and not just wine) on the website, personalised Zoom wine tastings and free Edinburgh delivery.

The Fine Wine Company. Lovely wine shop, specialising in Vegan and Organic wines on the main shopping strip of Portobello High Street, EH15 - check the website for opening times. They also offer UK-wide delivery for orders on their website.

Bulgarian Food in Edinburgh 

If you’d like to add traditional Bulgarian food to this year’s Valentine’s Day celebration in Edinburgh, the best place to visit is Balkan Edinburgh. It’s a small Bulgarian supermarket serving freshly baked bread and lots of other authentic Bulgarian produce. 

Balkan Edinburgh, 6 Bowhill Terrace, EH3

Chocolate Day (Ghana)

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Now this is a day we can truly get behind! Ghana is one of the world’s largest cocoa producers in the world, so why not celebrate chocolate in all its glory? Who needs love when you’ve got chocolate?

Best chocolate in Edinburgh 

Of course, there’s so many great chocolate out there, but if we’re celebrating chocolate produced in Ghana, our favourite brand by a mile is Tony’s Chocolonely. All of the ingredients are of the finest quality, are Fairtrade and produced from 5 cooperatives along Ghana’s Ivory Coast. 

There’s so much more to this incredible chocolate brand, so have a look at their website for their sustainable, earth and human friendly credentials.

You can buy Tony’s Chocolonely on their website, and in various branches of Sainsbury’s around Edinburgh.

Best African food in Edinburgh

While we’re on the subject of Africa - we can’t skip over our favourite African and Middle Eastern restaurant in the whole city. If you want to add more African flavour into your Valentine’s Day celebration then there’s only one place to get your takeaway this year. 

The Nile Valley is a casual dining experience, busy and frantic. It’s not fine dining, it’s so much better! Authentic cuisine from along the Nile Valley, it blends African and Middle Eastern food beautifully. An Edinburgh treasure - and an absolute must visit! 

Find The Nile Valley on Chapel Street, EH8 - they're on Deliveroo and Just-Eat too!

Sister’s Meal Day (China)

In South-West China, the 14 February is one of the oldest recorded Valentine’s celebrations in the world. The Sister’s Meal Festival celebrates love through singing, dancing, delicious feasts and gift giving with a difference. Women give men gifts wrapped in flower-dyed coloured rice. The gifts inside are symbolic of how they feel about their chosen recipient. Parsley means marriage, a bamboo hook means get in touch, and garlic means it’s over!

Chinese feasts in Edinburgh 

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Whilst the Sister’s Meal festival isn’t specifically celebrated in Edinburgh, this Valentine’s Day, you can still get together with your favourite sisters (related or not) over a video call and enjoy some delicious Chinese food throughout the city. Here are a few takeaway options!

Cool Jade - 3 Downie Terrace, EH12 - takeaway available but no delivery.

Loon Fung - 2 Warriston Place, EH3

Taste Good - 69-71 Slateford Road, EH11

Valentines Day Edinburgh

[Image by Bob Pia]

Valentine’s Day in Edinburgh 

As you can see, taking inspiration from around the world is a great way to get some love in your life. Of course, you might love Valentine’s Day (we do, too) and Edinburgh is the perfect place to be when you’re madly in love!