Valentines Across the World

  1. 8:00am (AEDT)

    Valentine's Day arouses bizarre acts of love

    Lovers around the world have found no end of bizarre ways to express their love this Valentine's Day.

    In Thailand, 13 couples donned wetsuits and diving gear to exchange their vows in seas off the coast of southern Trang province.

    In the Philippines, more than 5,000 couples set a new world record by kissing simultaneously for 10 seconds.

    Almost 100 "runaway" couples from all over the world took the historic and well-beaten path to the small Scottish village of Gretna to take advantage of more relaxed rules to tie the knot.

    In Ireland, star-struck lovers were handed a wedding carte blanche with a new law made public on Valentine's Day that enables them to marry whenever and wherever they wish.

    "Under new laws ... lovers will be able to marry on any day of the week, at any time and if the location is dignified, even at the place where the question was popped," Social Affairs Minister Mary Coughlan said.

    "Red tape that restricts civil marriages to weekdays and only in local registry offices are over 100 years old, antiquated and in need of modernisation," she said.

    In Britain, there was a happy ending for two survivors of the Paddington train disaster which killed 31 people in 1999, with a Valentine's Day wedding for Janet Vaughan and Tony Jasper, both aged 52.

    The couple met after the accident.

    "Our marriage is the one good thing to come from that day," Mr Jasper told London's Evening Standard newspaper.

    Valentine's Day took on a more controversial twist in the Chinese city of Shanghai, where free condoms were handed out to cinema-goers, raising eyebrows in conservative China.

    In San Francisco, gay couples jostled to tie the knot over the weekend in the first officially sanctioned same-sex weddings in the United States.

    More than 480 gay couples were married by the liberal city government over three days, after the mayor began openly defying California laws banning same-sex marriages by issuing marriage licences to gay couples.

    But Valentine's Day was not all hearts and roses.

    Celebrations were low-key in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, after a particularly deadly week for the country.

    Fears of more attacks kept many lovers off the streets, despite red roses and romantic gifts spilling out of shops.

    In the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, and other cities, police dispersed groups of women who had gathered for Valentine's Day "love" demonstrations.

    "No reason was given despite the fact that we had earlier been given permission to hold it," a spokeswoman for the organisers Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), Jenny Williams, said.

    Police said a young woman was killed and two people injured in a fire that broke out at a Valentine's disco in eastern Slovakia.

    Couples in India shrugged off threats by hardline Hindus to "blacken the faces" of people marking the festival of the Christian patron saint of lovers and celebrated with flowers and chocolates.

    In Europe, Valentine's lovers were forced to pay over the odds for the traditional flower of romance, the red rose.

    The bloom's price soared 30 per cent at one of the world's leading flower markets near Amsterdam.

    "The week before Saint Valentine's Day, sales of red roses, the favourite flowers for lovers, increase by 60 per cent compared to a normal week," Lisette Bakker, a spokeswoman for the Aalsmeer international flower market, told AFP.

    -- AFP
  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    thank you ..this was an interesting current event post among the war/capital punishment stuff of late. I enjoyed it!
  4. by   nekhismom
    Yeah, thanks Gwenith! I'm glad to read something that isn't politically charged!