Valentine, oh Valentine!

In my stormy youth, I once got a letter from the States on this very day, the 14th of February. I blushed: it was  a "Valentine greeting" from a girl I had met in Helsinki. Why did she send the greeting to me, a young shy Finn, not used to read let alone tell anybody about potentially amorous feelings in such a straightforward manner? I was perplexed.  The first Valentine greeting I got was a cultural shock for me. In those distant days, we did not celebrate Valentine's day in Finland. 

Since then the things have changed. The 14th of February is called "Ystävänpäivä" in Finland and "Sõbrapäev" in Estonia (both mean "Friend's day"). In Sweden, we call the day "Alla hjärtans dag" ("All hearts' day"). It seems that Valentine has finally conquered the whole globe or at least a good part of it. And why not? Friendship and love is all we need. 
According to a theory, the Finnish word for "love", "rakkaus", was used of a pole that held together two boats that were fishing with a seine so that they did not drift apart. Perhaps, this is the reason why the word sounds a little harsh, harsher than "lempi" which also means "love" but of a softer kind. Normally, we may confess our deepest Valentine feelings by saying "Mä rakastan sua" (I love you, as for pronounciation, see here), but if one would like to soften a little bit, s/he may say "Mä lemmin sua".
Amor se dice “rakkaus” en finlandés. Hay diferentes teorías sobre el origen de esta palabra. Una sostiene que es un término tomado del germano “frakaz”, que significa “ansioso, libidinoso”. Otra teoría, que prefiero, dice que “rakkaus” deriva de un artefacto que mantenia unidos dos barcos pesqueros, mientras se echaba la red. “Rakkaus” tiene también por función que mi barca y tu barcano se distancien 
una de la otra.
Es quizàs por esto que suena algo duro.
Rakkaus ja työ, amor y trabajo. Juntos crean lo que llamamos la vida, este milagro que lo veo en cada persona que tiene un corazón amoroso.

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