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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class - Holidays in the Netherlands Series at DutchPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Dutch holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 11. Valentine’s Day. In Dutch, this is [Valentijnsdag]
February 14 is Valentine's Day. It’s the one day of the year set aside specifically to celebrate love, or in Dutch [liefde]. On this day in the Netherlands, secret admirers try to win over their sweethearts, indulging them with poems, chocolates and cards, also called Valentines.
In this lesson, you’ll learn about how Valentine's Day is celebrated in the Netherlands.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
Which flower, besides the rose, is a symbol of love?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The origin of Valentine’s Day comes from the story of a young Roman called Valentine, or [Valentijn]. As a Christian, Valentine was persecuted for his faith, eventually beaten and beheaded for refusing to renounce Christianity. Having befriended the daughter of the prison guard who kept watch over him, he left a note behind for her that read, “From your Valentine” or in Dutch, [Van jouw Valentijn]. Around medieval times, this story became intertwined with the fecundity inspired by Cupid, the god of love, or [god van de liefde], and Valentine's Day emerged as the day of love as we now know it.
Until about seventy years ago, Valentine's Day hadn't really caught on in the Netherlands. It gained a foothold in the 1940s, when it so happened that domestic demand for flowers, or [bloemen], paled miserably in comparison to flower exports. After a suggestion from a board member on the Dutch Board of Floriculture to promote Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands, this all changed. It was on Valentine's Day that the greatest quantities of flowers were sold and exported to the US, giving flower exporters the idea to promote the holiday at home as well.
In the Netherlands, Valentine's Day started out as a “Day for Friendship,” or [Dag van Vriendschap]. It’s considered a day to express feelings of respect and appreciation, not necessarily to one’s love, but to any exceptional people in one’s life. Dutch TV shows saturated with romance and shows like “All you Need is Love” and “Love Letters” are incredibly popular. These shows depict lovers reuniting with one another after having been separated for some reason. The love doctor then brings them back together and gives the couples the opportunity to tell each other on TV how much they love each other.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Which flower, besides the rose, is a symbol of love?
The answer is the red tulip. The Netherlands is the only place where the red tulip, or [rode tulp], symbolizes a declaration of love, along with the yellow tulip, which stands for perfect love. Each color tulip is a symbol of togetherness.
What did you think of this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you have a Valentine this year, or an eye on a special someone?
Leave us your comments on DutchPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.