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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Russia Series at RussianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Russian holidays and observances. I’m Jenny, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 5 - Valentine's Day.
St. Valentine’s Day, which in Russian is called День Святого Валентина (Den' Svyatova Valentina), is also called “Lovers’ Day”, or День влюбленных (Den' vlyublenykh).
In this lesson, I will tell you how exactly how St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Russia.
Now, before we go into more detail, we've got a question for you-
Do you know which holiday in Russia is very similar to Valentine’s Day?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
In Russia, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14. This holiday is fairly new for Russia because it only started being observed in the 1990s. This holiday is strictly secular in nature and is not a religious holiday.
Even though Valentine’s Day is celebrated primarily by couples in love, in Russia, friends also offer their blessings to single friends. Traditionally, couples have a romantic dinner at home or in a restaurant. Many cafes and restaurants offer special festive menus and entertainment programs.
On this day, it's customary to give those you love Valentines, or in Russian, валентинки (valentinki). Valentines are small heart-shaped cards that are typically red or pink. Traditionally, Valentines are unsigned because it's thought that the heart will point out the sender of the love note. People in love also give each other various small gifts – chocolates, a stuffed toy, or even jewelry.
There are also some superstitions surrounding this day. For example, many people believe that you should never give a loved one a watch, or in Russian, часы (chasy). This is because superstitious people believe that a watch given as a gift will count down the time remaining for the lovers to be together.
So listeners, do you know which holiday in Russia is very similar to Valentine’s Day?
It's “the Day of Family, Love, and Fidelity” or День семьи, любви и верности (Den' sem'i, lyubvi i vernasti) in Russian, which is celebrated in Russia on July 8.
This holiday was established to commemorate Saint Peter and Fevronia of Murom, who are considered patron saints of marital happiness and love.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything new?
How is Valentine’s Day celebrated in your country?
Leave a comment at RussianPod101.com, and I’ll see you in the next lesson!