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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Greece Series at GreekPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Greek holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 24. Valentine's Day. In Greek, it's called [ημέρα του Αγίου Βαλεντίνου].
February 14 is internationally known as Saint Valentine’s Day. This day is celebrated by those who are in love or who are seeking an opportunity to show their love to someone else. It's a big day for florists and confectioners, as well, since chocolates and flowers—along with other gifts and cards—are popular gifts on this day.
In this lesson, we'll see how Greeks celebrate Saint Valentine's Day.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know who the god Eros was in Greek mythology?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
It's believed that this holiday has its roots in a celebration of the ancient Romans, the so-called [Λουπερκάλια]. An equivalent celebration existed in ancient Greece. Later on with the coming of Christianity, it was replaced by the celebration of the memory of Saint Valentine, who is called [Άγιος Βαλεντίνος] in Greek. Currently, the Orthodox Church of Greece does not recognize Saint Valentine. Though the Church has suggested various other dates or saints for the celebration of those in love, Saint Valentine’s Day remains the most popular lovers' holiday.
Saint Valentine’s Day came to Greece around the end of the 1970s, thanks to an initiative carried out by florists. Today this holiday is the most commercialized in the Greek calendar and has no particularly unique customs. Apart from chocolates or [σοκολάτες], it’s also popular to give flowers, [λουλούδια], and jewelry, [κοσμήματα], as a gift, or buy tour packages for romantic getaways. Radio stations, in order to get higher ratings, have phone-ins where anyone can dedicate songs or send a message of love.
Also on this day, many stores hold contests with gifts, called [δώρα] in Greek. Greek stores also have sales on specific items, especially two-for-one deals. This commercialization, however, is disconcerting to many Greeks. Holidays and traditions so recently brought from abroad are usually unpopular! On this day, then, many Greeks will be content with a simple "Happy Valentine’s Day!" In Greek, this is rendered [«Χρόνια πολλά!»]. At the same time a large number of people openly make statements against the holiday, especially on social networking websites!
If you don't know what to buy for a Greek person on Valentine's Day, humorous gifts, such as board games for adults, USB sticks in adult-themed shapes, or even handcuffs, will perhaps find greater appreciation than the more classic teddy bears with pink hearts!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know who the god Eros was in Greek mythology?
He was the winged god of love. The English word "erotic" is from his Greek name [Έρως]. The corresponding god of the Romans was Cupid or in Greek [Κούπιντο]. Eros made people fall madly in love by striking them with his arrows. Usually he is depicted nude, as a handsome young man or a chubby child, holding a bow and arrows.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day in your country?
Leave us your comments on GreekPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.

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How do you celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day in your country?