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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Germany Series at GermanPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind German holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 24 - Valentine’s Day.
In this lesson, we will discuss Valentine's Day or “Valentinstag” in German. It is also known as Sankt Valentin, Veltenstag, or Vielliebchentag and is celebrated every year in Germany on February 14. In 1950, the first Valentine's Day Ball was held in Nuremberg, from which the day of lovers became known to a wider audience.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
Do people give more flowers on Valentine's Day or on Mother's Day?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
On Valentine's Day, it is a custom in Germany that lovers present something to each other. Friends and children are not the target audience in this situation. The most important symbol of this day is a red heart or “Rotes Herz” in German, which hangs in many shop windows and adorns greeting cards with inscriptions like "For you" or “Für dich”, or also "I love you" or “Ich liebe dich”. It is also fashionable to give flowers, especially red roses called “Rote Rosen”, or chocolates on Valentine's Day. However, there is no limit to individual imagination; some surprise their beloved with a short holiday trip, a romantic dinner, or a self-written poem.
According to legend, Valentine's Day is attributed to Bishop Valentine of Terni, who married several couples in the church. Among the couples he married were soldiers, even though they were not allowed to get married according to the imperial command of the time. It is said that the couples he married experienced particularly happy times after their marriages. On February 14, 269, St. Valentine of Terni was executed and is revered today as the patron saint of lovers.
February 14 has not always been regarded as the day of lovers in history. In the Middle Ages, according to popular belief, the cattle were not to be used on this day for work, the animals born on February 14 were not to be used for breeding purpose, and the eggs laid by hens were not to be hatched, because this day was considered to be unlucky.
According to an old folk belief, it is said that the first man a girl encounters on the morning of Valentine's Day would be her true love, which is why many admirers would often rush to give flowers to their beloved ones on Valentine’s Day morning. There was also a widespread idea that a girl's future husband would appear in her dreams on the night of February 14.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do people give away more flowers on Valentine's Day or on Mother's Day?
It is Mother's Day when people give away more flowers, because Mother's Day is celebrated by almost everyone. However, many couples often forgo giving flowers on Valentine’s Day as they are more interested in spending time with each other than giving gifts. Besides this, there are of course many single people who don’t give flowers to anybody.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you celebrate Valentine's Day in your country?
Leave a comment telling us at GermanPod101.com. Until next time!