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In Italy, La Festa di San Valentino is very different from the Valentine’s Day I experienced in the UK. I still vividly remember my first Valentine’s Day in England, not because it was so romantic, but because it was full of cultural surprises. It all started a couple of days before the 14th of February when John, a guy I shared my rented apartment with, announced all excited that he had to order six bunches of roses and send six Valentine’s cards! “Six??? Why???” I asked him in total shock. Not only did John not have a girlfriend, but due to his looks he was also the most unlikely guy to have even one, let alone six!
Then on Valentine’s Day I met my friend Gill who told me how her two daughters, aged six and three, had spent the whole of the previous afternoon preparing Valentine’s cards. “Valentine’s cards? For whom?” I asked surprised. “For their teachers and us, of course”. “But it’s not Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, it’s Valentine’s Day, la festa degli innamorati! (the festival of those in love)” It just didn’t make sense to me.
So, how do we celebrate la Festa di San Valentino in Italy? Well, first of all only couples celebrate this festival, whether they are officially engaged or not, married or not it doesn’t matter, as long as they are together. We don’t send secret anonymous cards to parents, teachers (yuk!!!), boys and girls we fancy but don’t dare talk to. Then, it’s up to you how romantic you want to be and how much you want to spend for la tua dolce metà (your sweet half): a rose, dinner out, a night at the ballroom dancing to all the famous love songs, to the cinema, or a present. The present is often a silver or golden heart, because Amore fa rima con Cuore (Love rhymes with heart) as we say in Italy. And of course you can send SMS’, messages on Facebook, electronic Valentine’s cards, or dedicate a song on the radio (is it still popular? It was in ‘my’ time).
So, if you want to impress your partner with your knowledge of la Bella Lingua, here’s a short list of some romantic phrases you can you use for your Auguri di San Valentino:
|Buon S’anValentino Ti Amo is how not to wish Happy Valentine’s Day! from ‘Amori Grammaticalmente Scorretti’ (Grammatically Incorrect Love)|
Buon San Valentino, Amore Mio = Happy Valentine’s Day, My Love
Con te ogni giorno è San Valentino … Grazie Amore = Everyday with you is St. Valentine’s Day … Thank you Love
San Valentino è solo un nuovo pretesto per dirti quanto sempre ti amo! = Valentine’s Day is only a new excuse to tell you how much I always love you!
Amo te oggi e sempre. Buon San Valentino = I love you today and for ever. Happy Valentine’s Day
Il giorno migliore per festeggiare il mio immenso amore per te! Buon San Valentino = The best day to celebrate my immense love for you! Happy Valentine’s Day
Grazie Amore per rendere speciali i giorni della mia vita. Buon San Valentino = Thank you my Love for making the days of my life special. Happy Valentine’s Day
Altogether now: Ahhhhhhhh ……..