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Lesson Transcript

Valentine's Day
In French, it’s called Saint Valentin.
Do you know about Valentine’s Day? It’s the holiday for those who are in love. “Love” in French is amour. Like in other countries, it’s celebrated by the French on February 14. In France this holiday is celebrated only by couples. In this lesson, we’re going to learn why and how French people celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Which French illustrator became famous for his drawings of couples in love?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Valentine’s Day has pagan origins. The Romans celebrated Lupercus, the god of fertility. Later, in 498, Pope Gelasius set February 14 as the day of the Feast of the Saint Valentine in honor of the three martyrs called “Valentine.” Even today, however, historians don’t know why the day of love was associated with these three martyrs. Valentine’s Day as we know it today came to France in the fifteenth century thanks to Charles d’Orléans, who found out about this holiday while he was a prisoner in England.
Every year in France, Valentine’s Day causes debate. There are those who are for it, and those who are against it. The holiday is often criticized because it is seems purely commercial, or in French, commercial. Also, single people feel stigmatized. During this time, journalists give their opinions on the holiday, as do presenters on the radio and on TV. Everyone in France talks about it and everyone has their own opinion!
Nonetheless, the holiday is very successful. Many shops are decorated in red or rouge and pink or rose, the colors of love. According to surveys, more than half of French people say they celebrate Valentine’s Day. In general, couples give each other weekends away or trips to take together. Perfume, or parfum, is also a very popular gift. As for red roses, or roses rouges, they are an indispensable decoration!
In France, there is village called… Saint Valentin! Many French tourists, but also tourists from China and Japan, go there to celebrate the lovers’ holiday. Participants can get a certificate saying they’re officially “in love” given to them personally by the mayor of the village.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
Do you know which French illustrator became famous for his drawings of couples in love?
Raymond Peynet was a famous French illustrator who was born in 1908 and died in 1999. His drawings of couples in love made him famous. Even today they can be found in many forms such as cards and stamps.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day, and what do you think of this love holiday?
Please leave a comment telling us at FrenchPod101.com and we’ll see you next time!