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The Language of Love – Valentine’s Day Abroad

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The Language of Love – Valentine’s Day Abroad

If you’re new to a life overseas or if you’re considering a move in the not-too-distant future, have you ever found yourself wondering about Valentine’s Day abroad?

India’s Taj Mahal is probably the world’s most expensive and impressive gift of love. It’s therefore no surprise to find cultures around the world honouring relationships between couples in many different ways. However, not every race or religion saves it all up until February 14.

But what tends to happen at this time of year in the two countries where we do most of our business? If you’re considering a home in Portugal or Turkey, read on:

Passion in Portugal

As a Latin country, it’s no surprise that there are traditions in Portugal which go back centuries. Nevertheless, the role of religion in the nation’s past has perhaps kept them pretty chaste.

Love for a significant other is expressed through “cantarinha dos namorados” in Guimaraes, for example. It definitely sounds very romantic spoken out loud. However, a “cantarinha” is a clay jug and, in this context, it is presented by a man to his intended as a gift of betrothal.

If she accepts and her family approves, then the jug is filled with gifts for the bride-to-be. Obviously, space is limited so the jug would be filled with high-value items such as gold or jewellery.

But it’s not just left to the men to do the courting. In Braga in particular, if ladies want to attract a partner, they can follow another tradition dating back hundreds of years.

“Lenço dos Namorados” are large and elaborate embroidered handkerchiefs presented to a potential suitor. Should he accept the gift, the man is obliged to wear it on his coat, his hat or around his neck to indicate he is spoken for. Thus they are often presented on Valentine’s Day which some regions don’t celebrate until June.

Of course, a card or a bouquet are modern equivalents and by no means overlooked. But, if a jug or a hankie or a neckerchief turns up on the doorstep, at least you’ll know it means you have an admirer!

The quirks of the Turks

The commercial aspect of Valentine’s Day in Turkey is relatively new. For example, you won’t find many shops rammed with cards or heart-shaped knick-knacks in advance.

But that doesn’t mean the concept is overlooked. Indeed, in Turkey, Valentine’s Day is known as “Sevgililer Günü”, which translates as “the day of lovers”. However, it isn’t yet as significant as it may be in the West. A recent survey suggests only about a third of Turks will actively participate.

The same research also suggests it’s the men who are expected purchase gifts. And, as you may expect, they will choose something the day before. That, perhaps, is why the shops are bereft of hearts and flowers until Eros is imminent.

But then, if you know Turkey well, then you will be very much aware the culture is one of spontaneity. As a rule, Turks listen to their hearts and will make decisions based on how they feel at the time. The “I love you” moment (seni seviyorum) may therefore arrive much quicker. But that doesn’t mean it’s felt any less.

“Naz” is another aspect of Turkish culture which shouldn’t be overlooked. In essence, it refers to the mystical culture of women playing hard to get. In other words, certainly in Ottoman times, saying no to a man’s advances didn’t always mean that. Sometimes it was rather an encouragement for the man to try a little harder to win over his intended.

As a result, although modern Turkish culture may seem macho from a western perspective, it’s hard-wired in the past. Men in particular may seem guarded or even a little cold. But, when passions run high, they can be just as romantic. Indeed, they may even be more prone to expressions of love and affection than many others around the world.

How can we help?

Obviously, we’re not qualified as consultants in love, but, if you’re considering Turkey or Portugal for your retirement or a fresh start, we’d be happy to help find the right place for you.

If you would like more information on buying property, why not drop us a line of give us a call? We can also help with the administration and logistics or relocation.

Alternatively, feel free to browse our blog for previous posts you may find useful. If you’d like to check out our full portfolio, you can find details of properties currently on our books right here. You can also keep up to date with our Facebook page here.

Gourmet chocolates and red tulips for Valentine’s Day

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