Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day or Saint Valentine's Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14 by many people throughout the world. In the West, it is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine's cards, presenting flowers, or offering confectionery. The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

An alternative theory from Belarus states that the holiday originates from the story of Saint Valentine, who upon rejection by his mistress was so heartbroken that he took a knife to his chest and sent her his still-beating heart as a token of his undying love for her. Hence, heart-shaped cards are now sent as a tribute to his overwhelming passion and suffering.

The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines." Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The sending of Valentines was a fashion in nineteenth-century Great Britain, and, in 1847, Esther Howland developed a successful business in her Worcester, Massachusetts home with hand-made Valentine cards based on British models. The popularity of Valentine cards in 19th-century America was a harbinger of the future commercialization of holidays in the United States.

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

Meeting in Alcamo

Comenius Project - The Image of the Other - Coordinators` Meeting
in Alcamo, Sicilly 2008. 

Our school and teachers in Alcamo, Sicilly. 

Teachers from Sicilly, Slovenia, Lotva, Lithuania & Poland 
Meeting with students of Liceo in Alcamo 
Sicilian landscape 

Celebration of St. Andrew's day

A Tradition of Fortune Telling
There is a long tradition of fortune telling especially for non-married girls on the November 30th in Poland. We need to remember that every day in Polish calendar has it’s patron. November 30th is under the patronage of St. Andrew. The habit of fortune telling is called St. Andrew's Night, in Polish Andrzejki.

St. Andrew night was celebrated since the turn of XVI and XVII centuries. The main purpose of Andrzejki celebrations is to predict the future of unmarried girl, especially her prospects for a good marriage.

Eve of St. Andrew’s Day
A few ways of telling the fortunes. The most popular way of predicting the future of unmarried girl is melting wax and pouring it into a bowl of cold water. Wax is then picked up from the water, raised to the light, and the girls try to see the similarities of it to real objects. Depending on the shapes, fortunes are told for the following year.

Another way to fortune-telling.
In another traditional way of fortune telling, girls stand in a circle leaning over a bowl of water with a small floating walnut shell containing a tiny lighted candle. Each girl pastes a slip of paper with the name of a favored young man on the inside edge of the bowl above the water. To whichever name the lighted candle sailed to and burnt, a marriage proposal from him could be expected.

The other belief
In another game, a scarf, a ribbon, and a rosary are placed separately under three plates. A girl,with her eyes blindfolded, turns around three times while other girls rearrange the plates. If she draws a scarf, it means marriage; a ribbon - single for another year; rosary - becomes a spinster or a nun.
There are many other methods of divining one's future husband, including the use of a pendulum, tea leaves or apple peelings. Celebrating St. Andrew's Day continues to be a popular tradition in Poland.