12 Valentine’s Day traditions around the world

12 Valentine’s Day traditions around the world

Valentine’s Day is known around the world as a celebration of love and romance where people show their affection for their loved ones, often by exchanging cards and gifts. Although the day is celebrated in many countries, the way people spend can be very different!

Here are some examples of how people celebrate Valentine’s Day in different countries around the world:

1.Valentine’s Day in Japan

Rear photo of Japanese young Couple with Kimono and Yukata enjoy fall colors at Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan. Autumn season destination with copy space for text.

Unlike in most Western cultures, it is traditional in Japan for women to give men gifts (often chocolate) on 14th February. A month later, on 14th March, Japan celebrates White Day, where men traditionally present women with gifts such as jewellery, clothing and chocolates that are around two or three times more valuable than the gifts they received from their partners on Valentine’s Day

2.Valentine’s Day in South Korea

DSC01142

Valentine’s Day traditions in South Korea are similar to those of Japan and it is customary for women in South Korea to buy men gifts on 14th February. They also celebrate White Day one month later when the men reciprocate their feelings buy giving women gifts on 14th March.

However, after this day, South Koreans continue the tradition with Black Day where single people meet up to celebrate or mourn single life (depending on their viewpoint). Many will meet up at restaurants to eat jajangmyeon (자장면), which is made up of Korean noodles in black bean sauce and referred to as black noodles.

3.Valentine’s Day in Denmark & Norway

Candy for the one you love

On Valentine’s Day, it is customary for Danish and Norwegian men to send women Gaekkebrev which are funny poems or love letters. They send these notes anonymously and leave a small clue at the bottom of the page (a series of dots where each dot represents one letter of their name). The woman must then guess who has sent her the card and, if she is right, she will receive an Easter egg later in the year. If she fails to guess the identity of her secret admirer, she must give him an Easter egg instead.

4.Valentine’s Day in Finland & Estonia

Friends Explore Nature Outdoors Concept

On 14th February in Finland and Estonia, friendship rather than romantic love is celebrated. The day is referred to as ‘Friends’ Day’ and people exchange cards and presents with their friends.

5. Italy

Venice Sunrise

In Italy, Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated as the Spring Festival, where young couples would gather outside in gardens to enjoy poetry readings and music. It was also said that the first man a young, unmarried woman saw on Valentine’s Day would be the man she would marry.

Today, Italians celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving gifts to their partners and having candlelit dinners together. One of the most popular gifts to give are baci perugina, which are chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped in paper with romantic notes printed in four languages.

6. Brazil

Vem cá

Brazilians celebrate their version of Valentine’s Day or Dia dos Namorados (Lovers’ Day) on 12th June. On this day, music festivals and events take place throughout the country and gifts and cards are exchanged with friends and family as well as romantic partners.

7. South Africa

Lion snuggle

As with many Western cultures, South Africans celebrate Valentine’s Day by going on a romantic date with their loved one and exchanging cards and gifts. It is also customary for young women and some men to take part in an old Roman tradition known as Lupercalia where they pin the name of their love interest on their sleeve.

8. France

Love Lock ~ Paris, France

Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in France in the same way as many Western countries by giving flowers, Valentine’s cards and gifts to romantic partners and love interests.

However, an old tradition which is now banned was une loterie d’amour or ‘a drawing for love’. This custom would take place in two houses situated opposite each other where single men in one house would face single women in the other and they would call out to each other through the windows until they eventually paired off. If the men were not fond of their match, they would leave her for another man to call. All of the women who were not matched by the end would gather around a bonfire in which they burned images and belongings of the men who rejected them.

9. Philippines

Wedding in Paradiso

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the Philippines in a similar way to Western countries but it is also common for shared wedding ceremonies to take place on this day. The custom of mass wedding ceremonies has become popular in the recent years and many couples get married or renew their wedding vows together all year round.

Lovehearts

Across the UK, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the same way as many other countries and it is customary for British people to exchange flowers, cards, chocolates and other gifts with their loved one. Historically, St Valentine’s Day was celebrated differently depending on the region:

10. Valentine’s Day in Scotland

An old Scottish tradition during Valentine’s parties is to play a game where an equal number of single men and women write their names on pieced of paper which is then folded and dropped into two hats (one for men and one for women). Each woman then draws the name of one man from the hat and vice versa. If a man and woman draw matching names from their respective hats, they have to stay together throughout the evening. If a man draws a name which does not match, he has to spend the evening with the woman who drew his name from the hat. Today, the tradition is not widely practised but it is still played in some households just for fun.

11. Valentine’s Day in Wales

The Welsh equivalent to Valentine’s Day is St Dwynwen’s Day which honours the patron saint of lovers and is celebrated on the 25th January each year. On this day, hand-carved wooden spoons were traditionally given by men to their love interests. They would carve intricate designs onto the spoons’ handles which had symbolic significance. For example, wheels would signify a man’s hard work and keys would represent his heart.

12. Valentine’s Day in England

Traditionally, unmarried women in England would pin bay leaves on each corner of their pillow in the belief that they would dream of their future husband. Young ladies would also write their love interests’ names on pieces of paper and put them inside clay balls that they would drop into the water. It was believed that the name on whichever paper came up first would represent their future husband. In Norfolk in the East of English, traditional folklore tells of a character called ‘Jack Valentine’ which is said to leave presents for children on Valentines’ eve. Although it is not known how this tradition started, it is still practised amongst some families.

New Evening Term for Languages Starting January 2019

New Evening Term for Languages Starting January 2019

We are delighted to announce our new term for our foreign language evening courses. This one will begin in January 2019.

We are pleased to offer courses in 15 different languages: Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, Finnish, French, Gaelic, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish

Speak a new language in 12 weeks!

Our courses are designed in line with the world-renowned inlingua method and are led by native-speakers of the target language. Lessons are given in small groups to maximise speaking practice and there are no mixed-level groups. All courses take place at our language centre in Edinburgh’s West End.

From only £10.60 per week, you will learn how to use the target language in a variety of situations. Please feel free to check out our leaflet with the outcomes you should expect from your lessons: available here.

  • Maximum of 10 students per class (average 5)
  • Qualified, native-speaking teachers
  • A lot of speaking practice
  • All course material included
  • Classes suited to each ability (no mixed-level groups)
  • Certificate of Attendance, showing final level and study dates

Classes take place once per week from 18:30 to 20:00 for 90 minutes. The full cost is £190 per term. This price includes all course materials, tea, coffee and refreshments included and wifi.

Duration of the term

  • 12 weeks with 5 to 10 students
  • 10 weeks with 4 students
  • 8 weeks with 3 students in the group

Booking is now open for all languages, so book early to secure your place and avoid disappointment!

Free Open Evening 

Tuesday 15th January from 6pm to 8pm

You will be able to join a Free sample lesson (45min) in beginners’ French, Gaelic, German, Japanese, Spanish and more to be announced

The event gives anyone the opportunity to come along to the school and find out more about our foreign language courses. You will have the chance to meet our teachers and staff, see the school and also discuss your level and the content of our courses!

Book your ticket here.

Ready to get started? Join us now!

Daytime Language Courses Starting September 2018

Daytime Language Courses Starting September 2018

Due to very high demand, we have decided to launch daytime language courses. The new term will start in September 2018. The lessons will take place once per week from 9:30 am to 11 am for beginners. You will be able to choose from:

  • Gaelic (Thursday)
  • German (Wednesday)
  • Italian (Friday)
  • Japanese (Tuesday)
  • Russian (Thursday)
  • Spanish (Monday)

How much is it? 

  • The full cost is £180 per term.
  • £15 per lesson including all course materials (book and CD for beginners)
  • Free refreshments

Why choose us?

Our language centre is centrally located in Edinburgh’s West End and has a relaxed yet professional atmosphere for an enjoyable learning experience. inlingua’s world-renowned teaching method was established in 1968 and has been proven to get results time and time again. We offer lessons in small groups (max. 10 per class). Our qualified teachers are all native speakers of the target language. We make sure you will have a lot of speaking practice We offer classes for all abilities – no mixed-level groups

Ready to get started? Join us now!

Why learn a new language?

Why learn a new language?

Give Your Brain a Boost!

Speaking a second language each day really can keep the doctor away! Study after study demonstrated the cognitive benefits of learning another language, no matter how old you are. Memory improvement, longer attention span, and a reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline are just a few of the known positive effects of speaking two or more languages.

Family and friends

If your partner, in-laws, relatives or friends speak a different language, learning that language will help you to communicate with them. It can also give you a better understanding of their culture and way of thinking.

Job and Work Opportunities

Learning a second language opens up a ton of career opportunities. The world is changing fast. More companies than ever are doing business in several – often dozens of – countries around the world, but they can’t do it without hiring globally-minded people who can speak at least one foreign language. Ever wanted to be like those people you see in the airport travelling to foreign countries “on business” all the time? That can be you. Edinburgh is well known to be very international. Even in small, local companies, chances are that the ability to speak a second language will set you apart from other applicants.

Become More Interesting and Meet Interesting People

If your first language is English, the second most common language in the world, and yet you’ve made the effort to learn another language rather than expecting the world to accommodate you. People will approach you and will want to talk to you. They’ll want to know what motivated you to learn another language.

Become a Better Learner

Every time you will learn a new language, you will find it easier than the one before. The reasoning is simple: with every new language you’ll study, you will figure out ways to learn more efficiently. In other words, you will develop language hacks.

Discover You Can Do It!

We’ve heard pretty much every excuse that people give for failing to learn a second language. Too old, not enough time, wrong genes. None of them hold water. Whatever doubts you have, you really can learn another language. It’s never too late, you are never too old. With only a lesson per week and 12 weeks, you could even hold your first conversation!

Ready to get started?

All our packages and options >> http://inlingua-edinburgh.co.uk/foreign-languages

Our new term will start in September 2018.

Eurovision 2018: Dates, Odds, Plus Everything Else You Need To Know

Eurovision 2018: Dates, Odds, Plus Everything Else You Need To Know

This year’s event marks the 63rd annual Song Contest, where countries from across the continent – and a select few others – battle it out at the campest event in the musical calendar.

The 43 participating delegations have taken to the Blue Carpet at the MAAT museum complex in Lisbon. Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and will host the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2018! Get ready as Eurovision is just around the corner

When is Eurovision 2018?

This year’s grand finale takes place on Saturday 12 May, airing on BBC One from 8pm. The live semi-finals will be held on the Tuesday and Thursday prior to the final and broadcast on BBC Four.

Participants in 2018

The 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will see 42 countries take to the stage in Lisbon. The 2018 edition will be a special year for Sweden which will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its first appearance in 1958. Russia is also returning to the contest after a year’s absence.

That’s not to say it’s completely po-faced and fun-free. And thanks to the viral potential of, shall we say, a quirky song, there are still some tunes making the final that sound like the rantings of a fever dream, but it all adds to the occasion. Here’s what to expect, and how to survive, your very first Eurovision season.

Eurovision is progressive

Eurovision was woke way before you started your first hashtag on Twitter. Trans singer Dana International won the competition for Israel in 1998 and a bearded drag queen called Conchita Wurst took it home for Austria in 2014. Eurovision has a huge LGBTQ fan base and it’s safe to say many participating acts will have gay credentials of some kind. There are objections, of course, from less forward-thinking countries – Russia tends to cause trouble about this one a lot – but when it comes to diversity, Eurovision is charging ahead.

The Eurovision songs

First of all, around ten of the songs will sound pretty much the same. Eurovision is like a cultural microcosm with a fast turnover of pop trends and songwriting quirks. Quite often, they’re in line with last year’s winner – or the year before for some countries and usually ten years before for Britain – or will mimic a huge hit from the past 12 months.

The scoring

Don’t ask. Honestly. Nobody knows. Over the past couple of years, Eurovision has experimented with changes to the scoring to involve more audience and country participation but also build excitement as the result is announced. In the olden days, often the winner would become clear early on, so to increase tension results are announced in a certain order to keep you guessing. The points system is honestly wild and combines the scores of just about everyone except next door’s cats. Do not ask a Eurovision fan about this; it’s been a long night. Just keep the drinks flowing and pretend you know what’s going on.

Who has made the final?

France, Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain automatically qualify, regardless of their positions last year, as they are the five biggest financial contributors to the EBU. Portugal also qualify as the host nation and current champions.

1. Portugal: Cláudia Pascoal – ‘O Jardim’

2. France: Madame Monsieur – ‘Mercy’

3. Germany: Michael Schulte – ‘You Let Me Walk Alone’

4. Italy: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – ‘Non mi avete fatto niente’

5. Spain: Alfred & Amaia – ‘Tu canción’

6. United Kingdom: SuRie – ‘Storm’

Who’s tipped to win?

The current favourite is Israel’s Netta, with her chicken-noise-filled song ‘Toy’. Yes, we said chicken-noise:

Estonia is the second favourite with this opera number:

As for the UK, our odds are pretty slim at 100/1 as of mid-March. Oh dear!

And the Czech Republic are the third favourites with this insanely catchy tune:

All the songs on Spotify

The Top 10 Reasons To Learn French in 2018

The Top 10 Reasons To Learn French in 2018

French is the international language of dance, architecture, the visual arts, theatre, fashion and haute cuisine. It’s spoken by over 200 million people, making it the ninth most spoken language in the world. Right now, approximately 750,000 people are learning it. If you can read it, you’ll be able to dip into the original works of such luminaries as Jean-Paul Sartre, Molière and Michel Foucault, and admire the words of Edith Piaf’s belting choruses. It’s a language of diplomacy and sophistication, and an official language of multiple institutions, from the United Nations to the European Union and the International Red Cross. If you’re looking to learn a language, French is a great choice. Here are 10 of the top reasons for learning French

1. A world language

More than 220 million people speak French on the five continents. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, comprises 77 member States and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world.

French is also the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. France operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language courses for close on a million learners.

2. A language for the job market

The ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market. A knowledge of French opens the doors of French companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and the continent of Africa). As the world’s fifth biggest economy and third-ranking destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner.

3. The language of culture

French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs. French is the language of Victor Hugo, Molière, Léopold Sendar Senghor, Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alain Delon and Zinedine Zidane.

4. A language for travel

France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 79,5 million visitors a year. The ability to speak even a little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France (from the mild climes of the Cote d’Azur to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps via the rugged coastline of Brittany) and offers insights into French culture, mentality and way of life. French also comes in handy when travelling to Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Monaco, the Seychelles and other places.

5. Because it’s not that difficult

We anglophones don’t have the greatest reputation for speaking foreign languages, but French is the one language in which many of us can at least utter a few words. This is due not only to the aforementioned similarities, but also to the fact that it’s taught widely in schools, French-speaking countries continue to be popular tourist destinations, and French words tend to pop up sporadically in high brow texts that are trying to be a little more high brow. Admittedly there are a few finicky grammar rules to learn, but generally speaking, English grammar corresponds relatively closely to French grammar.

6. The other language of international relations

French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.

 

7. A language that opens up the world

After English and German, French is the third most widely used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish. An ability to understand French offers an alternative view of the world through communication with French speakers from all over the world and news from the leading French-language international media (TV5, France 24 and Radio France Internationale).

8. A language that is fun to learn

French is an easy language to learn. There are many methods on the market that make learning French enjoyable for children and adults alike. It does not take long to reach a level where you can communicate in French.

9. A language for learning other languages

French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since fifty per cent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.

10. Parce que je t’aime

First and foremost, learning French is the pleasure of learning a beautiful, rich, melodious language, often called the language of love. French is also an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations.

The accent is arguably the most difficult part of starting to learn French. Consonants toward the end of words have an unsettling tendency to disappear. Once you’ve tuned into the language, however, you can turn knees to jelly with the mere utterance of a simple sentence; is there anything more romantic than the soft, whispered sound of “Je t’aime”?

Ready to get started?

We offer evening French courses, duo lessons and private tuition to suit all levels. Whether you are a complete beginner interested in learning a new language, or an experienced speaker looking to brush up on your existing skills, we offer a range of French classes to suit you.

Our courses are designed in line with the world-renowned inlingua method and are led by native-speakers of the target language. Lessons are given in small groups to maximise speaking practice and there are no mixed-level groups. We have a long history of working with local businesses and are happy to hold lessons in your office or at our language centre in Edinburgh’s West End.

Now it’s THE TIME to book your place! Our new term for evening courses will begin from 23rd April 2018.

Check out our dedicated section here

Also feel free to check our previous blog post with 16 French singers/bands to practice your French with music!