These Strange People

Podcast Show with Marie Staroverova
and Native Speakers Club
#6 Признаются ли женщины в любви на St.Valentine's Day?
Добрый день! Я, Мари Староверова, приветствую вас на шоу "These strange people - Эти странные люди", которое мы делаем совместно с проектом Native Speakers Club.

Native Speakers Club - это уникальное пространство для погружения в иностранные языки в самом центре Москвы.

Сегодня говорим с Джесси о том, как празднуют День Святого Валентина, какие подарки дарят, сколько денег тратят на эти подарки и кто кому признается в любви на Saint Valentine's Day. Слушайте подкаст на английском языке!
Открыта регистрация на самый романтичный тренинг по английскому
Hear it. Get it. Speak it. Весенний Поток.
— Hello, Jessy! So, do people in Canada and the United States celebrate St. Valentine's day?
Yes, it's one of the most important celebrations of the year, even though it's not a statutory holiday, nobody gets a day off like New Year's or Christmas, but it is an important tradition.
— Okay, and what do people do on this day?
The main focus of the Holiday is to send one, or usually quite a few Valentines to people you love. And in fact you can send Valentines to anyone. The focus is on people you are romantically involved with: your girlfriend, your wife… but you can actually send Valentines to many people; anyone you really care about.
— So they can also be anonymous?
Yes, in fact many people send anonymous, and you never know who it's from, it's a secret admirer, and this is part of the mystery of the holiday, and it makes it interesting and exciting.
— So, do people declare their love on St. Valentines?
Sometimes. Sometimes people choose Valentines to declare their love to someone. It's a good opportunity.
— And these Valentines, is it just a post card?
Ah, good question. Well, the Valentine itself is always something physical, like a card, which is the simplest form of Valentine. But, very popular is chocolate candy. Usually rather expensive, nicely wrapped candy. And flowers. So what happens on St. Valentines is rather similar to what happens in Russia on March 8th.

Except, it's girls and boys sending Valentines to girls and boys. So it's everybody sending them to everyone. March 8th is just for women. What actually happens on this day is quite similar to March 8th… kind of… similar atmosphere… flowers, chocolate, a lot of expressions of love and care… it's really wonderful.

— So, it looks like shops earn lots of money during this period.
As many of our holidays in Western society, and not in Russia, they have become largely commercial holidays. I was reading from one website which I thought was interesting.

It says: "Though hearts and roses are red retailers and business owners see the green of money when it comes to celebrating the holiday." So, the colors of Valentines - you'll see everything is red and pink. The shops the decorations. And, um, they start advertising for Valentine's not long after New Year's. So, you'll have, the year, you can kind of gauge the year by the decoration in the shop windows, which are almost always there. So, New Year's is finished and right away the Valentine's decorations go up. Like, sales for candy, presents, teddy bears.
— Teddy bears?
Fuzzy animals. Anything that might elicit one's sense of love and care.
— One more question. Is it normal, is it accepted that women declare their love to men. Or this is…
Sure… Yeah, it is. That's a good question.

Right now North American society is quite free and open and quite equal. So as far as these cultural habits go, it's pretty equal for men and women. A girl is free to come and declare her love for a boy just as a boy is for a girl; first or second. Traditionally, though, as far as marriage goes, it still is the man who proposes which is different than declaring your love. First, you declare your love, and then if things turn out okay, you can propose marriage. And this is still traditionally done by the man, with a ring in a box - kneeling. And this is still… I haven't heard of any women actually proposing marriage to men. That's still, I think, a border that hasn't been crossed, but maybe it has and I haven't heard about it.

Another interesting fact about Valentine's, just, financial. "The celebrating of Valentine's day ranks #1 in the US in chocolate candy sales. During this holiday - there is a lot of trade going on - annual spending in 2014 for Valentine's holiday was more than 13 Billion dollars. Just on chocolates, flowers and teddy bears and related fuzzy animals. "Consumers spend an average of around $116 on gifts and merchandise to celebrate Valentine's.
— Wow! Big numbers!
So, it's an important part of the financial base of the country... actually are the holidays - holiday spending.
— So, do you say "Happy Valentine's Day"?
Yes, we say, "Happy Valentine's Day."

You can give Valentines in the form of chocolates, cards, in fact, to anyone you care about. It's very common for schools. It's actually a big school holiday. And children will come to school with cards, sometimes chocolates and put them in boxes then they're delivered to all the children. So you get Valentines - you send and receive Valentines. And of course, the more popular kids and up receiving more Valentines, the least popular kids maybe don't receive any which is… so, there are tears… there is joy and tears on Valentine's Day.

I remember when I was a kid in school we did that, it was a very common thing and in order to avoid the problem of inequality we were all given a task, an assignment: we had to send a certain amount of Valentines to a certain amount of random children so that everybody would at least get some Valentines. We would also send Valentines to our teachers to show them our appreciation. It's kind of a way of showing people appreciation on Valentine's.

— So it's not just about love.
Well, it's about love, but in all its forms. Not just about romantic love. Even though romantic love is kind of the focus. It's about love in all its forms, and love and care. Showing appreciation to those who care for you and those you care about.
— Thank you very much for sharing. And Happy St. Valentine's Day!
Happy St. Valentine's DAy to you and to all your listeners.