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St Valentine's day

St Valentine's Day: Symbols and Customs

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Do you know what the most popular symbols and customs of St Valentine’s Day are? Let me tell you about some of them.

Valentine Cards

As I’ve mentioned in the previous article the tradition of exchanging love notes on Valentine’s Day might trace back to the ancient Roman holiday Lupercalia. One of the customs of the young people on that day was name-drawing. On the eve of this festival the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man drew a slip. The girl whose name was chosen was to be his sweetheart for the year.

The first true Valentine card was probably written by a young Frenchman Charles, Duke of Orleans. He was captured by the English and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. He felt very lonely in his jail cell and to fight his loneliness he started writing love poems to his wife in France. His “valentines” are now kept in the British Museum.

King Henry VIII officially recognized St Valentine’s Day in 1537 which sounds a bit ironically because he was not the most romantic of the men. The fact is he had six wives and two of them were beheaded in the Tower of London: Anne Boleyn (17 May 1536) and Catherine Howard (13 February 1542).

The early valentines were handmade and young people spent hours composing their own poems. As time passed valentine cards became more and more popular. The Victorians decorated their cards with hearts and Cupids, wild flowers, silk, lace and feathers.

When the modern postal system was set up in the nineteenth century, a real Valentine’s Day industry was found. Ready-made cards were mass-produced just as they were for Christmas and birthdays.

In America handmade valentines began to appear around 1740. They were sealed with red wax and left secretly on a lover’s doorstep or sent by mail. They were often elaborate with cutout or pinprick designs resembling lace.

Today many people send electronic valentines to their loved ones. But the person who gets an e-valentine will know who it is from! You can’t sign it “From your secret admirer”!

This is an example of the poem written by Sherry M. Winchell (age 13) on St Valentine’s Day.

TRUE WISHES

I want a new life that’s easy on me

I want a new soul that I can set free

I want some wings to soar through the sky

I want a new shoulder to use when I cry

I want what’s best, though it might not be right

I want to be strong, though not wanting to fight

I want to be loved, but only if it’s true

I want a soft breeze to carry me to you.

But getting these things is just too much to ask,

And, achieving each one is too big of a task.

So there’s only one wish that I hope will come true:

That someday I’ll be together with you. 

Cupid

Cupid [´kju:pid] has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. He is the Roman god of love and a favourite symbol for valentines, party decorations and candy boxes. He is usually depicted as a winged child carrying a bow and a quiver full of arrows.

Cupid was the son of Venus [´vi:nəs], the Roman goddess of love and beauty. His arrows were invisible and when he shot his victims, they suddenly fell in love.

In ancient Greece he was known as Eros [´iərɔs], the young son of Aphrodite [ˏæfrə´daiti].

St Valentine's day

All you need is love

Heart

Emotions are feelings such as love, happiness, anger or fear. A long time ago people believed that all the emotions were found in the heart. In later years they thought only the emotion of love was connected with the heart. The heart is still the symbol of love, and because of it, it is also a symbol of Valentine’s Day.

In early 1800s young British and American men sometimes wore slips of paper with their girlfriends’ names written on them pinned to their sleeves for several days, thus giving rise to the expression “to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve” which means openly show one’s feelings.

In the United States the American Heart Association holds its “Save a Heart” program during Valentine’s week. It is an anti-smoking campaign that uses the symbol of the heart to educate high school students about the health risk involved smoking.

Lace

Lace comes from a Latin word that means “to catch”. Lace was supposed to catch the heart of a loved one. Hundreds of years ago women carried lace handkerchiefs. If a woman dropped her handkerchief, a man nearby might pick it up and return it to her. Sometimes a woman might see a man she wanted to meet. She might drop her lace handkerchief to encourage romance.

Soon people thought of romance when they thought of lace. They began using paper lace to decorate chocolate boxes and Valentines cards.

Rose Meanings

This widely depends on culture, but first let’s see the formal meaning in English speaking cultures. Each of these meanings is still used in society today, so they are still valid.

  • White roses are for true love
  • Red roses are for passion
  • Yellow roses are for friendship
  • Black roses mean farewell

Modern meanings:

  • Red roses mean love
  • Yellow roses mean friendship
  • Pink roses mean friendship or sweetheart
  • White roses mean purity of the mind
  • Black roses mean hate and death

Lovebirds and Doves 

It is believed that birds chose their mates in the middle of February that made doves a symbol for Valentine cards. Doves were thought to be favourite birds of Venus. They remain with the same mates all their lives. The males and females both care for their babies.

When printed valentines appeared, lovebirds were featured on many of them. Today the lovebirds that appear on Valentine cards are usually tiny parrots with red bills and brilliant feathers. They are called lovebirds because they sit closely together in pairs.

Gloves

Long time ago, when a man proposed marriage to a woman, he “asked for her hand”. The hand became a symbol of marriage and love. Soon gloves also became a symbol of love.

Valentine’s Love Box

To make Valentine’s Day a special affair some of my friends who now live in the USA, Connecticut came up with the following idea: Leada, a young lady,  constructed a Valentine’s Love Box. She used an old shoe box. You can use any type of holder for the “box”, providing it has a lid or covering. First of all she cut out the slit in the lid and then covered the box with different kinds of paper. At this point you can let your imagination run wild. You may use cut-out hearts, flowers, cupids, and even a picture of your favourite singer.

The finished product not only make a great decoration, but also may serve to hold any type of small treat ( remember it has to fit through the slot on the top). As treats you may have small candies, mini notepads, handmade cards, erasers, chapstick, a teabag, a pen, a pencil, or perhaps a little note just to say “I love you”.

Remember: Nobody must be left out in the cold!

“to leave somebody out in the cold”  means “to ignore”

And now you may watch a video “Leada’s Talk

Valentine's day is a wonderful way

To make «I love you» easy to say.

Св Валентин

St Valentine's Day History

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Hello, my dear friends!

It’s here again, the day when boys and girls, husbands and wives, sweethearts and lovers, friends and neighbours and even the office staff will exchange greetings of affection, undying love or satirical comment. And now I’m going to tell you about St Valentine’s Day History.

St Valentine’s Day, February 14, has been a customary day for choosing sweethearts and exchanging love-tokens from time immemorial.

The method of choosing sweethearts on St Valentine’s Day varied in different times and places. It could be a serious matter, leading to marriage, or it could be a kind of game. Countless generations of young people have acknowledged St Valentine as the friend and patron of lovers.

The Legend of how St Valentine’s Day began 

St Valentine lived in Rome during the third century. At that time Rome was ruled by an emperor named Claudius. A lot of people didn’t like him.

Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men to volunteer to join. But many men just didn’t want to fight in wars and did not want to leave their wives and children. This made Claudius furious and he had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So, he made a law against marrying. Young people thought his new law was cruel and preposterous.

Св Валентин

A kindly priest called Valentine was not going to support it and kept on performing marriage ceremonies secretly. Can you imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and priest? They would whisper the words of the ceremony, lending an ear to the steps of soldiers.

One night they did hear footsteps. Thanks goodness the newly married couple managed to escape in time but, unfortunately, Valentine was caught and thrown into the jail.

Even in prison Valentine showed his love for everyone and wonderful things happened. A lot of young people came to the jail to visit him because they wanted him to know that they believed in love, too.

One of these people was his jailer’s daughter. A young girl was blind. Her father allowed her to visit Valentine in his cell and she helped him to keep his spirits up. And by a miracle, Valentine restored her sight. On the day he was to die, on February 14, 269 A.D., he left her a little note thanking her for friendship and loyalty. It was signed “From your Valentine.”

It is believed that note started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine’s Day.

The Old Tradition of Lupercalia

Now February 14 fell in the midst of a Roman festival called Lupercalia. In the early days of Rome, fierce wolves roamed the woods nearby. The Romans called upon one of their gods Lupercus to keep the wolves away.

One of the customs of the young people on that day was name-drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man drew a slip. The girl whose name was chosen was to be his sweetheart for the year.

When Christianity became the religion of Rome, this joyous day was changed to St Valentine’s Day in honor of the saint who gave his life to help lovers.

There are lots of legends about how Valentine’s Day started but no one knows for sure whether any of them are true.

Vocabulary

affection – любовь, привязанность

undying love – вечная любовь

token – подарок (небольшой) на память

from time immemorial – с незапамятных времен

countless – бесчисленный

patron – покровитель

to exchange – обмениваться

to volunteer – добровольно вступать в армию

to make smb furious – приводить кого-либо в ярость (бешенство)

cruel – жестокий

preposterous – абсурдный

to marry – женить (ся)

marriage – замужество, женитьба, бракосочетание

do not mind doING smth – не возражать против выполнения какого-либо действия

bride –  невеста

groom – жених

priest – священник

to lend an ear to smth – прислушиваться к чему-то

to escape – убегать, исчезать

jail = prison – тюрьма

cell – клетка, тюремная камера

loyalty – верность, преданность

Thanks goodness – Слава Богу!

to be blind – быть слепым

to restore one’s sight – вернуть зрение

to keep one’s spirits up – поднимать настроение

to keep on doING smth – продолжать выполнять какое-либо действие

by a miracle – чудом

in honor of somebody –  в честь кого-то

Lupercalia [ˏlu:pə´keiliə] – луперкалии (праздник в честь бога Луперка, покровителя стад в Древнем Риме)

Music Time !

Listen to this audiofile:

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Still loving you…

( Scorpions )

Time, it needs time

To win back your love again.

I will be there, I will be there.

Love, only love

Can bring back your love someday.

I will be there, I will be there.

 

Fight, babe, I'll fight

To win back your love again.

I will be there, I will be there.

Love, only love

Can break down the walls someday.

I will be there, I will be there.

 

If we'd go again

All the way from the start,

I would try to change

The things that killed our love.

Your pride has build a wall, so strong

That I can't get through.

Is there really no chance

To start once again?

I'm loving you.

 

Try, baby try

To trust in my love again.

I will be there, I will be there.

Love, your love

Just shouldn't be thrown away.

I will be there, I will be there.

 

If we'd go again

All the way from the start,

I would try to change

The things that killed our love.

Your pride has build a wall, so strong

That I can't get through.

Is there really no chance

To start once again?

 

If we'd go again

All the way from the start,

I would try to change

The things that killed our love.

Yes I've hurt your pride, and I know

What you've been through.

You should give me a chance

This can't be the end.

I'm still loving you.

I'm still loving you, I need your love.

I'm still loving you. Still loving you, baby...

I wish you love and mutual understanding with your friends and family.

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Thank you for reading me!

 

 

 

 

 

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