Life around the world

Saturday, 18 January, 2014 - 08:36

Valentine's Day

by TeresaC

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the UK on February 14th. It is a celebration of love between husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends and sometimes just friends together! We celebrate Valentine’s Day in a variety of ways, and it is often celebrated by people whether they have a boyfriend or girlfriend, or not!

Here are some of the ways in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day in England.

Many people send and receive cards from their loved ones. Cards are usually sent from boyfriends to girlfriends, and sometimes also to someone who is too shy to tell someone of their feelings! However, cards are not just sent between boyfriends and girlfriends or husbands and wives. My Mum, for example, has sent me and my sister Valentine’s Day cards since we were 12, each time signing off the card with ‘love from ?’ Although we know it’s from her because of her handwriting!

Often, you can find love poems written inside a Valentine’s card. you can buy cards with a poem already written inside, or some people make them up to describe the special love between them and their partner. Poems are often used to express love. William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, a special kind of poem, and lots of these were about love. One of these, sonnet 18, is often quoted on Valentine’s Day:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

by William Shakespeare, sonnet 18

In this poem, Shakespeare talks about how the woman he loves is more beautiful than a summer’s day - she is too lovely to use this metaphor. Instead, her eternal beauty shall not fade like summer does, and she is immortal in the poem.

Even from a young age, children write poems for Valentine’s Day. There is a popular poem which begins, ‘roses are red, violets are blue’. the next line changes, and the last word must rhyme with ‘blue’.

You can create romantic versions, such as:
Roses are red, violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, and so are you!

However, you can change it to be a silly poem that you can give to your brother or sister, or a friend. For example, my favourite when I was younger was:
Roses are red, violets are blue, Give me ten pounds, and I will love you! and Roses are red, violets are blue, Onions stink, and so do you!

As well as cards, people often send and receive gifts from their loved ones. Traditionally, flowers (especially red roses) and chocolates are favourite gifts. However, recently, teddy bears have become a popular gift from boys to girls, and balloons, too, are seen everywhere on Valentine’s Day! Personally, I like homemade gifts best - a homemade heart-shaped cookie or cake shows that someone has put time and effort into the present. Last year, to cheer up all her single friends, one of my friends made everyone homemade biscuits and decorated them with edible love hearts!

Language level
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Can you write your own version of a 'Roses are red ...' poem?
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