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Valentine's Day

Reading-Form 8

ex.3b, p. 139

History of St Valentine's Day      

Read the text and make a short plan. 

      Valentine’s Day is celebrated by millions of people all over the world. The celebration falls on the 14th of February.
On this day, people celebrate and show their love to each other by giving gifts and cards and perhaps by having a romantic dinner.
      The history of Valentine’s Day and its patron saint has a lot of mysteries.

      But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. Customs which have a link with St Valentine’s Day started with the popular belief held by people in Great Britain and France during the 14th and 15th century that birds begin to mate on 14 February. Lovers, therefore, foundSt. Valentine’s Day the right time to send love letters and gifts
to beloved.

      But in recent time the festival is seen in much larger perspective. Now, people take opportunity of the day to wish “Happy Valentine’s Day” to anyone they love – their father, mother, teachers, siblings (brothers and sisters), friends, co-workers or anyone special to them. The idea is to give love and spread happiness around us. But, who was Saint Valentine? One legend says that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage (поставил брак вне закона) for young men –his soldiers. Valentine thought it was unfair and continued to marry young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

      There is a legend, that Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself. Valentine fell in love with a young girl who visited him in prison before his death on 14 February. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine had become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
      Other stories suggest (предполагают) that Valentine was killed for attempting to help Christians escape Roman prisons
where they were often beaten. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it had become common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small gifts or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards had begun to replace written letters. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. According to the Greeting Card Association, one billion Valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year (2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)

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