Sunday 13 February 2011

14th February: Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's Day, a special date celebrated all over the world. As usual, here I let you the origins of such a celebration that I hope you find interesting. I've also uploaded a song called "Valentine's Day" by one of your favourite bands, Linkin Park. The song is a little bit sad but quite suitable for a day like tomorrow. Enjoy it!!

Valentine's Day started over two thousand years ago, as a winter festival, on 15th February. On that day, pagans asked their gods to give them good fruit and vegetables, and strong animals.

When the Christians came to Britain, they came with a story about a man called Saint Valentine. The story is that Valentine was a Christian who lived in the third century. The Roman Emperor at the time, Claudius II, was not a Christian. Claudius decided that his soldieres must not marry, because married soldiers do not make good soldiers. Valentine worked for the church, and one day he helped a soldier to get married. The Emperor said that Valentine had to die because he did wrong. In prison Valentine started to love the daughter of a man who worked in the prison. The day he died, he sent a note to this woman, and at the end of the note, he said: "Your Valentine". He died on 14th February, so the date of the festival changed from 15th to 14th February, and the name changed to Saint Valentine's Day. 

In the early 19th century, when the post office started in Britain, people started to send Valentine's cards to the person they loved on 14th February. 
The cards had pictures of flowers and birds on, and words inside like: 

Roses are red, my love, 
Violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet, my love, 
But not as sweet as you. 

People still send each other Valentine's cards, but often they do not write their names inside: they just write "Be my Valentine" or "From your Valentine". It is a kind of game. 
Some children give their friends or teachers cards or chocolates. A man will perhaps give his girlfriend or wife red roses. A lot of people go out to restaurants for the evening and have dinner for two, with candles and soft music. 

MAGUIRE, Jackie. "Seasons and Celebrations" Oxford Bookworms Factfiles. Oxford University Press 1997

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