Reading Comprehension - Saint Valentine's Day

Develop your reading skills. Read the following text and do the comprehension questions

Saint Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day is a Hallmark Holiday

Hallmark holiday refers to a holiday that is perceived to exist mainly for commercial reasons, rather than to celebrate a traditionally significant religious or secular event. Although many people view these celebrations in a negative way, others have positive views. On the negative side, hallmark holidays don't really celebrate an important event, and only exist for companies to make a lot of money.  On the positive side, the term describes the perfect holiday in which family, friends, and fun come first.  Everyday problems, worries, and stress can be put aside.  Valentine's Day, which is celebrated on February 14, is usually considered to be one of the hallmark holidays.

In Valentine's Day billions of cards are sent. It is also an opportunity for customers to buy chocolates, flowers, engagement rings, romantic dinners, and so on.  This commercial aspect can be traced back to the 19th century when printing technology improved to cheaply mass-produce greeting cards.  But the origin of the celebration is much more ancient and can be traced back to a Roman festival called "Lupercalia" which was held in mid-February every year.  The celebration purified new life in the spring. Around the third century A.D., the holiday became associated with Saint Valentine, although it isn't exactly clear how.

Historical Origin of the Celebration

A popular explanation of the link between Saint Valentine and the Holiday says that at the time of the Roman "Lupercalia" Festival marriage was a common tradition, but when Claudius became Emperor he changed all of that. He outlawed all marriages because he was afraid that men would refuse their duty to fight because they would not want to leave their wives behind. Young couples still fell in love though and still wished to marry and they took these desires to the Catholic Bishop Valentine who, understanding love, began to secretly marry couples. When Claudius found out, he arrested Valentine and sentenced him to death. While waiting in prison, Valentine began exchanging letters with the prisoner's daughter and soon had fallen in love with her. The day he was to be beheaded, he wrote her one last note and signed it: "From Your Valentine".

In 496 A.D. Christianity had taken over Rome and Pope Gelasius outlawed the pagan Lupercian Festival. Knowing it’s popularity, he looked to replace it with something more "appropriate" and set aside a day in February to honor the martyr St. Valentine. Even though in 1969 the church removed St. Valentines Day from it’s calendar of "official" holidays, it is still widely celebrated today. And although Valentine's Day has become quite commercial, it still contains an important aspect shared by all of the best holidays - time spent thinking of and being with the one you love.

Source: Wikipedia


  1. A Hallmark holiday :
    a. celebrates a secular event,
    b. celebrates a religious event
    c. exists mainly for the sake of business
  2. Valentine's Day :
    a. was first celebrated in the 19th century
    b. was celebrated much earlier than the 19th century.
  3. Emperor Claudius used to:
    a. forbid marriage,
    b. kill newly married couples,
  4. Saint Valentine
    a. secretly helped couples to get married.
    b. got married himself despite the new law forbidding marriage.

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