Articles in this blog may be ESE news, academics pieces written by our team or events in Malta of general interest.
‘Love is in the air’
Known as the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day is a day for people to express their feelings of love and affection, and is celebrated on 14th February each year. Valentine’s Day is widely celebrated around the world, particularly in the US and Europe and consists of the giving of cards and gifts to love ones.
Valentine’s Day can be romantic and exciting or downright depressing depending on whether you are ‘loved up‘ or single. Many couples choose to get married on this date due to its romantic connotations. It’s also an easy date to remember, therefore men are unlikely to forget their wedding anniversaries!
Valentine’s Day can be the perfect time of year to let that special someone know just how you feel. It’s also a golden opportunity for couples to play cupid and help their single friends by setting them up on blind dates. Perhaps it’ll be love at first sight or maybe you’ll have wished you had stayed at home! Dating is a minefield at the best of times but Valentine’s Day brings with it extra pressure and expectations. Should you wear your heart on your sleeve or play hard to get? Should you wine and dine the object of your affection at the best restaurant in town or go Dutch at the local bistro?
Whether this is your first Valentine’s Day or you are a budding Casanova, follow our short guide to everything lovey-dovey this February 14th.
Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is named after a Catholic priest, Saint Valentine, who lived in Rome in the 3rd century AD. There are various stories regarding Saint Valentine but the most popular version involves Emperor Claudius II. Christianity was gaining popularity amongst many Romans, and so the Pagan Emperor decided to create special laws for Christians governing what they could and couldn’t do. Claudius felt that Roman soldiers could not be devoted to both Rome and their wives at the same time, therefore he passed a law forbidding soldiers to marry. According to the legend, St Valentine defied the Emperor and continued to marry soldiers in secret.
Once discovered, St Valentine was imprisoned and sentenced to death. While in prison, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. On the day of his execution, St Valentine is said to have sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”. St Valentine was executed on 14th February.
It was not until almost 200 years later that the Catholic Church decided to name 14th February as St Valentines Day. This was partly due to the Pope’s wishes to abolish any remaining Paganism in Rome. By this time, Rome was largely Catholic, so he decided to replace the Pagan fertility festival that was traditionally celebrated in mid-February, with St Valentine’s Day, adding it to the Catholic calendar.
It was the Victorians in England that began to exchange Valentine’s cards and gifts such as red roses, the symbol of love and romance, and turned Valentine’s day into the celebration we know today.
What are the symbols of Valentine’s day and what do they mean?
Red roses – symbolise love and romance as the flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
Cupid – the son of Venus is a small winged angel with a bow and arrow. People who fall in love are said to have been ‘struck by Cupid’s arrow’.
Hearts – heart shape used to depict the human heart and its emotions of love and affection.
White Doves – Doves choose their mate for life and symbolize loyalty, fidelity and love.
The Art of sending Valentine’s day cards
The Victorians were particularly fond of poetry and writing love letters. Valentine’s Day cards are the perfect opportunity for one to pen a romantic ode to their love one. Most are familiar with the popular Valentine’s day poem ‘Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Sugar is Sweet and So are You’. Victorians were also responsible for the tradition of leaving a card unsigned. It was believed to be bad luck to sign ones name and so instead St Valentines famous phrase, ‘from your Valentine’ was used.
What to eat on Valentine’s Day?
Sparkling Champagne, exotic seafood, decadent truffles, the name of the game is to impress.
Oysters are often described as ‘the food of love’ and are considered an aphrodisiac! Pair them with a young Champagne for the height of Valentine’s Day luxury.
Whether you choose a fancy restaurant or opt for a romantic candle-lit dinner at home, the food needs to be delicious and memorable.
It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If this is also true of the fairer sex is less clear. One thing’s for sure, a true gentleman should always pick up the bill at the end of the night!
Still looking for love? It’s not too late! Join our traffic light party in Soho, this Valentine’s eve, with a complimentary drink on arrival….and who knows, you may just find your Valentine!
(A traffic light party is a party at which guests wear different colours indicating their relationship-seeking status. See the Leisure team for more details. )
Focus on Fluency
Loved up – being in love.
Blind date – a date with someone you have not met.
Love at first sight – to fall in love with someone the first time you meet.
Wear your heart on your sleeve – express your feelings openly.
Play hard to get – pretending to not be interested in someone in order to get them to be more interested in you.
Wine and dine – take someone to a fancy restaurant for dinner.
Go Dutch – split the cost of something 50/50.
Casanova – (noun) a man that has many lovers.
Lovey-dovey – overly expressive or romantic.
Ode – a poem to express feelings of love.
The name of the game – the main purpose of a situation.
Aphrodisiac – a food that stimulates desire.
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – cooking for a man will win his affections.
The fairer sex – women.
Author: Samantha Dixon
About the Author: Samantha is British and has taught English as a foreign language in several different countries including Thailand and Finland. She has been with ESE since March 2016 and has recently joined the Marketing team as a Marketing Executive. She enjoys being creative, painting and writing when time allows. She also enjoys spending time with her 3 year old son, soaking up the Maltese sun.
Articles in this blog may be ESE news, academics pieces written by our team or events in Malta of general interest. Please feel free to write to us with any comments, suggestions or any articles you may have written and would like to share with us and our students.