ST. VALENTINE’S DAY (1)

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            St. Valentine’s Day has its origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, observed on February 15. Lupercalia celebra­ted the coming of spring in the Roman calendar (February was observed later in the year than it is today). Lupercalia was as­sociated with the Roman gods Lupercus and Faunus. Lupercus watched over shepherds and their flocks and the festival of Lupercalia became a celebration intended to ensure the fer­tility of flocks, fields and people.

The celebration of Lupercalia spread as the Roman Empire grew. When the Romans conquered France, the first Valen­tine-like cards were used, in which women had written their names (possibly accompanied by love notes) that later could be used in a lottery to search someone favours.

         From its association with Lupercalia, St. Valentine’s Day associates with love and romance. This led Valentine’s enthu­siasts to appoint the Roman god Cupid as a patron of Valen­tine’s Day. Cupid is also known as Amour or Eros in Greek mythology. The ancient Greeks believed Eros was the force of « love, » that is why Eros seems to have been responsible for impregnating a number of goddesses and mortals.

            There are several legends about St. Valentine’s Day. Each legend stems from real-life martyr known as Valentines who lived in the time of Roman Empire. It is unsure who St. Valen­tine was, but there are several possible candidates. One of these Valentines is believed to have been a Roman priest and physi­cian. He was put into prison by roman authorities for his teach­ings and was beheaded on February 14 in the third century A. D. According to the legend he performed a miracle -he cured the blindness of his jailer’s daughter. Before the execution, he wrote her a letter signed «From Your Valentine». Another legend says that the same Valentine wrote to children and friends who loved him from the jail. After his death this Valen­tine was buried in the Roman road Via Flaminia. Pope Julius I is said to have later built a basilica above his grave. One more Saint Valentine candidate, believed to be a bishop of Teni (a province in central Italy), was executed in Rome.

          According to another legend, Valentine was an Italian bish­op who lived at about the same time. He was thrown into pris­on because he secretly married couples, contrary to the laws of the Roman Empire. The legend says that he was burnt at the stake.

          February 14 was also a Roman holiday. On this day, young men randomly chose the name of the girl to escort to the festi­val. The custom of choosing a sweetheart on this day became very popular in the medieval Europe. Later this custom spread to American colonies.

           Now, St. Valentine’s Day is the day of all sweethearts. On this day, people send presents or flowers to those whom they love. Most people send «valentines», greeting cards, named after St. Valentine’s letters written in the jail. Valentines can be sentimental and romantic, or funny and friendly. Valen­tines can be anonymous. Valentines can be heart-shaped. Peo­ple buy valentines or make them themselves.

 

 

 

QUESTIONS:

 

1.  What are the origins of St. Valentine’s Day?

2.  When and where were the first Valentine-like cards used?

3.  Why is St. Valentine’s Day associated with love and ro­mance?

4.  Who is a patron of Valentine’s Day?

5.  Who was St. Valentine?

6.  What did people do on this day?

 

 

VOCABULARY:

to observe — зд.торжественно праздновать; проводить торжественную церемонию

shepherd — пастух, чабан

flock — стадо           

to ensure — гарантировать, обеспечивать, ручаться

fertility — плодородие; изобилие; перен. Богатство

to spread (past spread, p.p. spread) — разносить(ся), рас­пространять

to conquer — завоевывать, покорять; порабощать; под­чинять

favour — расположение, благосклонность

association — ассоциация, соединение, объединение

to appoint — назначать, определять

Cupid — римск. миф. Купидон

Amour — римск. Амур, Купидон

mythology — мифология

ancient — древний; старинный, старый; античный

responsible — ответственный, несущий ответственность, отвечающий за что-л.

to impregnate — оплодотворять (чем, кем); осеменять; делать беременной

goddess — богиня

mortal — смертный

to stem — происходить; являться результатом чего-л.

martyr — мученик, мученица; страдалец

priest — священник (особ, католический); жрец

miracle — чудо

to cure — излечивать, исцелять

execution — казнь

to sign — знак; символ

to bury — хоронить

pope — Римский Папа; священник, поп

grave — могила

bishop — епископ

to execute — казнить

to throw (past threw, p.p. thrown) — бросать, кидать

stake — ист.столб, к которому привязывали присуж­денного к сожжению

randomly — случайно, наугад

sweetheart — возлюбленная, возлюбленный

jail — тюрьма

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