Saint Valentine's Day
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Saint Valentine's Day has arrived to America with the first settlers from England, and immediately became one of the favorite holidays. Even during the Civil War in the mid 19-th century, the American press has noted that Valentine's Day is the second most popular holiday after Christmas.
There are many stories about the origin of this day, the day of love. In particular, there is a belief in England that the birds are looking for a couple on Valentine's Day. In Denmark on Valentine's Day people give the first snowdrops. That day is now accepted to show sympathy and love to friends and loved ones - because often people who are constantly busy and absorbed in cares just forget how important it is. So on Valentine's Day in America, as probably in many other countries, spouses and lovers sign to each other nice valentine cards, which are often depicted hearts or god of love Cupid, and make small gifts. Traditionally such valentine gifts are flowers, chocolates, love notes, poems. Some couples arrange romantic meetings in the evening at home with candlelight or in the festively decorated restaurants. This day is a popular day for marriage proposal. Pupils and students often give valentine cards to their friends and teachers, many people also congratulate parents, relatives and friends this day. There are many special goods in stores before St. Valentine's Day such as boxes of candy in the form of hearts, souvenirs, postcards with various signatures and best wishes, beautifully packaged perfume and jewelry - everyone can find something special. Incidentally, the day after Valentine's Day all these candy hearts and many other colorful items can be purchased very cheaply.
Gifts in stores are tied with red ribbons. It is no coincidence - Valentine's Day is associated with a large layer of European culture. In medieval Europe ladies often gave red tapes as a sign of their love to knights who competed in duels. And knights attached gifts to the spears as a lucky talisman.
Valentine's Day has roots in longstanding Roman festival in honor of the god named Luperkus. This god, as the Romans believed, defended them from the cruel wolves, who then ran in huge flocks throughout Italy. Every year in mid-February the Romans celebrated this holiday. The boys chose their partners for dancing and games, they wrote names of the girls in special bowls.
This holiday is entwined with legends. Now the Catholic Church has no less than three Valentine who were recognized as saints.
In 270 AD, the Christian Bishop Valentine who did not want to bring gifts to the altar of the pagan god Pan was imprisoned in pagan Rome. Bishop also went on to marry couples secretly while Emperor Claudius II had prohibited marriage for the young men believing that they will be better soldiers without a family. Bishop Valentine was sentenced to death. According to another legend, Valentine was killed during his attempt to help Christians escape from Roman prisons where they were tortured. Bishop signed a note for the young daughter of a prison warder with words "Your Valentine." Many lovers sign their valentine cards with these words until now.
If a couple comes into a restaurant at this romantic day, most likely a red rose will be presented to a lady after dinner. And, of course, a large bouquet of roses or other flowers will bring to a girl her only Valentine.