Valentine’s Day: All About Love

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Liz Waid and Colin Lowther look at a special day for love: Valentine’s Day. They look at the origins of this day, and celebrations around the world.

Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

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And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

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Seventeen hundred years ago, in the city of Rome, a man was put in prison. He was a Christian believer. And he had not obeyed the Emperor. He was sentenced to be executed. While this man was in prison, he met a young woman. She was the daughter of the prison guard. She visited this man’s prison cell often. They could not always talk together. So he and the woman began to pass notes to each other through the prison bars. They fell in love with each other. When it was time for the prison to execute the man, he sent her one last letter. The last note he sent to her was a love note. He ended it, “from, your Valentine.”

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Some people believe that this is the story that started the holiday we now know as Valentine’s Day. All around the world people celebrate this holiday on February 14th. They celebrate it in many different ways. But the message is the same everywhere — love! Today’s Spotlight is on Valentine’s Day!

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No one really knows if this story about the man, named Valentine, and the prison guard’s daughter is true. The holiday is actually named after at least two men, both named Valentine. Historians, people who study history, have little information about either of these men. Both men died because of their Christian faith – one died in 197 and one in 269. Historians believe that both men died on February 14th. Later, the Christian church recognized these men as saints — people of strong faith. And February 14th became Saint Valentine’s Day.

vintage valentine
Vintage Valentine; Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay
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Historical documents show that, originally, Valentine’s Day had little to do with love. A recorded link between Valentine’s Day and love did not appear until about 1,200 years later.

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In 1382 Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem about love. He was a famous English Poet. The poem told about birds coming together half-way through the second month of the year. The birds met on Valentine’s Day, to mate. The poem influenced many people. And soon after, other writers began to use these ideas in their own writing. The link between Valentine’s Day and love became common!

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By the 17th century, Valentine’s Day was celebrated all over Great Britain. About a hundred years later, people began to exchange small gifts or notes on Valentine’s Day. These gifts were an expression of love between family, friends, and lovers.

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Today, many people still celebrate Valentine’s Day in this way. They send a greeting card. These are usually just a simple paper note that expresses love or devotion. A person can send a Valentine’s Day greeting card to his lover, his parents, his co-worker, or even his doctor! In fact, the Greeting Card Association says that world-wide, people send over one billion greeting cards every Valentine’s Day!

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People in Canada, Mexico, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Australia all celebrate Valentine’s Day this way. But greeting cards are not the only thing people give or do. People may go out to a special dinner. They may buy each other a present, or just some good-tasting candy or chocolate. Other countries do different things.

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On Valentine’s Day in Japan, women give sweet candy, chocolate or flowers to people they like. They call this chocolate ‘giri-choko.’ In Japanese, the word ‘giri’ means obligation, or, something someone must do. And ‘choko’ is a short form of the word for chocolate. A woman may also give ‘honmei-choko’ to a person she loves or is in a relationship with. Or she can give ‘tomo-choko’ to her friends.

Giri-choko; “Happy valentines” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by chidorian
Voice 2  

This may seem nice for the men. But men who received honmei-choko must also give the women a present. This happens on White Day, one month later. On that day, a man must give the woman a present worth two to three times more than the present he got! Sora News 24 is a Japanese news site. It shared results of a survey about this tradition. Most men do not like it. In the survey, one Japanese man wrote:

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“I like getting the chocolates. But I hate having to buy every girl something in return. Honmei-choco is even worse, because you have to buy something super expensive on White Day!”

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In Finland they celebrate ‘Friend’s Day’ on February 14. This is not only a day for people in love. But, it is a day for celebrating and remembering your friends.

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Some places do not celebrate Valentine’s Day at all. But they do celebrate a different day for love. People living in Brazil celebrate ‘Boyfriend or Girlfriend Day.’ On June 12th, people in love exchange gifts like chocolates, cards, flowers, and even special clothes. Some women even use this day to perform special customs. They believe these customs will help them find a good boyfriend or husband.

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Colombians celebrate ‘Love and Friendship Day’ on the 3rd Friday and Saturday in September. And many groups of people join in a popular tradition called ‘amigo secreto’ or ‘secret friend.’ Each member of the group chooses another member’s name by chance. He gives the person he chose a gift on this day.

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So, people in different places celebrate a day like Valentine’s Day. They may celebrate it at a different time of the year. They may give gifts or greeting cards. They may write a special note to many people or to only one person. But there is a common idea in all of these actions. Valentine’s Day is a time to think about the people around you. It is a time to think about the people you love.

two people embracing
Image by Gennaro Leonardi from Pixabay
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It is important for people to feel loved. But often, we do not express our love for the people around us. So, Valentine’s Day offers people the perfect chance to tell other people how much you value them. Tell your wife or husband, or girlfriend or boyfriend how much you love them. Tell your parents or children how wonderful they are. Tell your friends how much you like to see them.

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Do you love someone? You should tell them! Then, tell US about what makes them so wonderful! You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at You can also comment on Facebook at

Voice 1  

The writers of this program were Liz Waid and Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at This program is called, ‘Valentine’s Day: All About Love’.

Voice 2  

Look for our listening app in the Google Play Store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.


How do you show the people in your life that you love them? Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Join the discussion

  • For me , i didn’t celebrate Valentine’s day before because my religion prevents that and I respect It . But I’m in love with my family, Parents and friends and we are always sharing the beautiful moments ❤️ And exchanging some gifts

  • I never celebrate the Valentine’s day. Actually, we can express our love to people
    who we love in our actions., so we have to care about them and make them happy every day.

  • I celebrated many times with my boyfriend , family ,and friends .Now I still celebrate but with my husband and my child. it is amazing day .

  • To show to the people in my life that I love them ,I just do actions which can make them happy.i love my I Never celebrate Valentine’s day

  • Real, I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day, but I love love with all people, especially with my small family, my husband and my daughters, love is a rare value now .

  • I love my mam but my mam is diet before 12 yars a go but Evan time yat don’t forget my mam l love my mam I wish after I diet. Of see u the live other I want see u the first parson any one your see my massage My mother calls me my mercy

  • I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day because every day in my life I will be grateful to them and for their presence with me, and I thank them with some gifts.

  • I express my love for the people I love by caring for and respecting them
    No, I don’t celebrate Valentine’s

  • I dont celebrate valentine’s day but it is very important to make happy people around you regardessly if it is valentine’s day or not. I want to be more fond of my father, because I know he is a wonderful father, all this time I’ve not shown love to him because of past problems. But I must apologize and to let the past off and to go on because if I show how much I love him, I am sure he will become happier.

  • your program is very useful. I can learn more culture of many countries in the world. In addtion, I also understand about Valentine’s Day. Thank you.

  • There are many countries that celebrate Valentine’s day with much fun and laughter. February is rightly referred to as the month of romance.

  • That’s pefect if I and my girl friend go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day. But, it does not happend in the feauture.

  • I never celebrated the Valentine’s Day ,
    I do not think that love has a specific day. Love is present every day with family, friends, or a lover. Show love to them by paying attention to remembering the day of birth or by taking for them flowers or chocolates.

  • I dont show the people they i love that i love them , but i am always thinking in good way about them
    In reallity , i did’nt celebrate valentine’s day in my life , but every day i remember people they i love.

  • I personality don’t celebrate but I respect the people who do,and I like to show my love to the group of people that I love everyday without waiting for a special day

  • For me … I think that making a day for love makes the gifts an obligation thing to do…that’s why men in japan don’t like the white day.. because gifts should be optional thing, indicating love wherever not in a specific day even if it’s against your will..
    I think people don’t like to feel pressure when they don’t give gifts and other people think that they are greedy or they don’t really love them .. and about boyfriend and girlfriend ..people can pretend love by giving presents while he or she is just cheating, sly, face, trickish, false and liar.

  • I never celebrate Valentine’s Day because My religious prevents celebration on this day. I show the people who I love then through my actions .

  • I do not celebrate in Valentine’s day because I’m muslim beliver so it’s for the christian faith and every day we live is surrounded in love so it is not necessary to celebrate in love we live every day with love

  • hmmm…. I love gift him a presents or flowr or anything expression of love .
    But no one likes me , its okay i love myself i bay gift for me ✨

  • I don’t know but I love special occasions to express my love, because I think love is a very special thing whatever type it was so you give its own special space. Because as you might also see people we love and they love us back have a great place in the greatest thing valued by the human kind, OUR HEARTS!!. Although iam not a type of person who knows how to express their feelings, I do try to;because our loved ones deserve our gratitude for everything they gave us

  • I’m telling them and care about them, No I didn’t celebrate valentine’s day because our religion prevent that and I completely respect that because we don’t need one day in the year to show love or respect to the people we love, we should show love every moment as soon as we are alive.

  • Today is Valentine’s day! With the rush of everyday life I only said for my daughter that I love her so much. Now my husband is playing soccer and we didn’t change the information about the day rs. We need to celebrate more the love in my days.

  • actually I am a shy person I can’t tell people I love that I love them and I don’t celebrate the Valentine’s Day.

  • In deffernt tradition or countrys had name to express the love or what they felling , our tradition just celebrate some days of year but not realated about love ,I mean just meeting your freinds or brothers for special day “eid” for muslims

  • Thank you spotlight for these informations.
    We, like muslims People, don’t believe in these valentine’s day stories at all.
    And muslims do not wait for celebrating a one day in the year to share their emotion, devotion or to express love to someone he like.
    Muslims People consider all of year days a holiday to express love in their behavior with People they like. They take all days since gifts or oppotunity to show their own parents, wifes, husbands, children, friends and neighbors how much they like them.
    Muslims social relationships are usually recognize success then other People all around the world, because their relationships are based on a lot of spiritual values that People they like can see, and in fact, it is because of our religion ISLAM that it urged for expressing love in all of our living concerns.

  • Yes, absolutely. All my life, I haven’t believed in love. But when I was 18, I fell in love with my friend Mohamed. In the beginning, he was just a friend to me; then he became my best friend, and step by step, I fell in love with him. But I didn’t tell Mohamed that I loved him because I was afraid that he wouldn’t reciprocate my feelings, so I chose to keep my love in my heart. That was painful. Mohamed deserves all my love because he was a good man, kind, clever, smart, handsome, and tall. He was perfect at everything. I got to know this person through social media. One day we saw each other in college, and this was the first time I saw him in my life. Oh, that was the most beautiful day I have ever seen in my life. I looked at him, he looked at me, and we created the most beautiful eye contact. We’re still best friends. I shouldn’t tell him anymore. The way that I was showing the people that I loved them was by taking care of them and buying presents for them. I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because I was a Muslim girl.

  • I show the people in my life that l love then when give them a gift,when help them in solution for them problems or provide them what they needed, when courage them to achieve them dreams and goals. Moreover, I don’t believe for thing called valentine’s day because I am a muslim girl we don’t this celebration for our religion and culture islamic because our life It’s all love and peaceful and Reassurance.

  • In my religion the celebration of this day is haram so I never celebrate this day and I will never do it because the love isn’t just one day the love is forever.

  • In my country, at the valentime’s day, a couple of boy and girl wear couple shirt and boy give a special gift to the girl he love. Teenagers are give a letter of express of love to the person they love. Some people only know that day is valentine’s day but do nothing special includes me. Because I thought that the valentine’s day is for only people who fall in love with someone. Valentine’s day was normal day for me and I never celebrated with people who I love. Some are celebrate the valentine’s day with different ways like give chocolate each other. That all…. Thank you for sharing about valentine’s day.

  • I don’t celebrate valentine’s day. Because I don’t like this. I love the close people of me every day ! I show them How I love thim
    From care , laugh , talk and when them sad I will near of them !

  • Hi

    The love is part of life ,but sometimes the love hurts you . Also i wish to find someone who knows me and encourages me to engage each other so i hope anyone see my comment be safe and be focus on your live

  • If a gay person like me, does Valentine’s Day have any meaning?
    There seems to be a misunderstanding, because this is the first time I have spoken, there can be no overlap.

  • The topic so meaning to me, i love all the team at Radiospotlight program. I’m from Vietnam, even my english is not very smooth but i’ve try to express how i appriciate what you guys are doing for my english skills.

    Back to this topic today, i’m usually show my love for everyone suround my life by give them gifts in some special day or just mornal day. Sometime it was a cake, candy or some products for health to hope they always feel the way i wish them have good health and be happy. Sometime it was just a card greetings to them, they loved all the wish i have written in it.

    Life tough enough so just influent the feeling of love you have, that why i’m alway want to give more than revice. When you see people you love happy, that was the wonderful gift insprired you

  • Actually love doesn’t need time or a day to be celebrated because it’s existed in everyone’s heart naturally . However , l respect the valentine Day , but we don’t celebrate . I think that exchanging gifts or presents on such days is very good to enforce the relationships beteen lovers or friends .

  • I have celebrated Valentine’s Day for 2 years and it is a great day to spend time with my love and set up a small party or nice dinner in a restaurant
    Also, I can invite your friends too because in my mind, my friends are the one I love too 😀

  • aucally , I show my love in many ways some time support them in hard time or celebrate with them another way show them smile to be postive in this life and I hope all the best to them, No, I donot celebrate yat but each valentine’s day I love my self than befor❤️

  • i have never celebrate VD before due to our religion forbidden to celebrate those holidays, but we express our love all days we do not have a specific day to express that would be by respect our family and friend and caring about them. our religion thaught us how to love and express this love. Not just our friend all muslim like brothers and we respect all culture and religion

  • I live in Brazil, it’s true here we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in February, but Boyfried’s Day in June, but one thing is interesting, we celebrate love with other persons, it’s the perfect show love for the special person or people for you, but last moment I leaning about celebrate love with me. Celebrate with the special person, but celebrate with yourself and love yourself

  • I show them How much I love them, talk with them , stay near them when they need me , and send a gift.
    I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because I don’t like it, I believe The love be every day not a special day in a year.

  • Love is not only between the two lovers, but love includes the family, friends, and animals ❤️ Beautiful radio, thank you very much ❤️

  • Always I tray to show people How much l love them ,, without depends on particular time or chance,, every time when you have ability to express your feeling do this
    In another hand my religion Forbidden celebrate with any event except our Eied

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