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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Vietnam series at VietnamesePod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Vietnamese holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson # 8 - Valentine's Day.
Valentine's Day, in Vietnamese Ngày lễ tình yêu, celebrated on February 14, is named after St. Valentine and is the day when most of the world celebrates love. On this day, lovers express their love to each other by sending meaningful Valentine's cards, or in Vietnamese, thiệp, roses, or hoa hồng, chocolate, or sô-cô-la and other special gifts. In this lesson, we will look at how couples in Vietnam express their love on Valentine's Day.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?
According to tradition, what items should Vietnamese people avoid giving to their lovers?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
We don’t know the exact time when Vietnamese people started celebrating Valentine’s Day, but it is certainly undeniable that couples đang yêu, which means in love, or married couples in Vietnam are very fond of February 14 nowadays. This has also made it into one of the favorite holidays of merchants, because customers’ demands for consumption and services suddenly increase on this day. Many men and women buy new clothes and go to spas or hair salons for beauty services before their dates.
Restaurants and cafes are decorated in a romantic way to attract couples to come to enjoy meals, chat, and celebrate the holiday. Movie theaters, called rạp chiếu phim in Vietnamese, are almost always fully booked, especially if they are showing emotional, romantic films which match the atmosphere of the day for love. Couples often take care to book tickets days in advance to make sure they get the best seats in the theater. Also, the flower industry sees a huge boom around this day. Roses of all colors are sold everywhere; but of course, red roses are still the most popular.
Chocolate is also an indispensable gift for Valentine's Day, causing many people to line up to buy it at specialty stores or supermarkets. Some romantic youth also buy ingredients to prepare handmade chocolate with shapes of their choosing to give to their lovers. Still more buy perfumes and other such items as gifts, hoping that their gifts will be used and treasured for a longer time.
While most young people are keen on collecting beautiful, romantic cards, or những bức thiệp lãng mạn, to give along with the gifts, many older couples are still not used to expressing their affection through cards.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question!
According to tradition, what items should Vietnamese people avoid giving to their lovers?
Traditionally, people say that giving shoes should be avoided because they think after the lovers receive them, they will go away. One should also not give handkerchiefs to a love one, because handkerchiefs are often used to wipe away sweat and tears which symbolize difficulty and sorrow. However, as this is just a superstition, fewer and fewer people continue to adhere to it today.
So listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting?
What do people give each other on Valentine’s Day in your country?
Please leave a comment telling us at VietnamesePod101.com, and we’ll see you next time!