Oh Valentine’s Day. Do we love it or do we hate it? Why do we even do it? There’s no “reason for the season” with this one. Thinking back on all past February 14ths, the ones I remember enjoying the most were when I was a kid. Let’s reflect on that magic, digest the excitement and anticipation of what Valentine’s Day was for us in childhood. How do we take that joy and share it with our children? Let’s explore what the holiday is, where it came from (apparently not Target) and how we can celebrate it with renewed joy this year.
Where did Valentine’s Day come from?
Let’s get historical, historical. Ok, I’m sorry. Sometimes I say sentences in my head to the tune of songs. Anyone else or are you all normal? So, onto the history portion of our program. Recently, I have started asking “Why?” to many, many things. I could blame my kids. They’re 7 and 3, so “Why?” is a common question posed in our home. Like any great educator faced with the dreaded “Why?” to something we do. not. know. I always have my trusty, “Hey, that’s a great question, buddy! Maybe you could look it up and share it with us later?!” Today, though, I’m going to find out the “Why?” of Valentine’s Day. Hold on to your conversation hearts!
I hopped onto Google to get started. I had a simple question, “What is Valentine’s Day?” Knowing that if I type my question in, I’ll get plenty of junk sites, but also a handful of reputable ones to browse for my answers. (How do we tell if something is reputable or not? That’s a question and answer for another blog!) I wanted to find out what it really means other than candy, flowers and giant stuffed bears.
St. Valentine- the man (men?), the myth, the legend
My upbringing in Catholic schools did give me an upper hand to know that there is a St. Valentine behind it all. But who was he? Why was he important? Did he like candy and stuffed bears? I mean, who doesn’t, but it doesn’t seem all that saint- like. The summarized version of it all is that there likely was more than one Valentine whose stories were all grouped into one and became the legend of a martyr for love we all know. Unfortunately for at least two of the historical Valentines, they were beheaded by the Emperor Claudius II. If you are unfamiliar about how someone becomes a saint, here are some helpful facts about St. Valentine and how Valentine’s Day ultimately came to be.
Timeline of history
Whoever was essentially “responsible” for Valentine’s Day could never have foreseen what the days would become. Sometime during the 1400s, the day began to be associated with romance, love and affection. It was at this time that people began exchanges messages, poems and other written forms of romance. By the 1800s, mass production of “official” Valentine’s Day cards became available for purchase along with marketed candy and flowers. Today, as with many other holidays, companies take full opportunity to market the traditional gifts and can be seen on nearly any store shelf! So, get ye to Target and buy your plush avocado and toast, because you know, true love.
Fun for the kids
Like I was saying, Valentine’s Day when I was a kid was so fun! I loved class parties and exchanging Valentines with my friends. How many of us would sit at our dining room tables deciding which sticker to give to our crush? Important decisions. One of my family traditions at home was to have a heart shaped cake each holiday, and this has carried into my present life. Of the few times I actually bake, a Valentines heart cake is on the list!
These days, I love looking through the aisles at Target (did I mention that I love Target?) in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day for some fun crafts and activities to do with my kids. They have already brought home some sweet little crafts from school. I have a few special ones they’ve made over the years that have become incorporated into our yearly holiday decor.
Bring in the kindness
One thing I love that my son (1st grade) came home with was a note from his teacher about Valentines Day reminding everyone that it is a day to express kindness and care for others. I think this takes some of the pressure off kids to feel like they have to write a “love note” to someone. With World Kindness Week coming up, the sentiment of care for others is perfectly aligned. I’m excited for him to bring in his Harry Potter Valentines and pencils. He even saves his Valentines each year and likes to look them over the following year and remember friends who moved to new schools and talk about fun memories with them. He’s a sweet soul. On that note, what ideas and plans do you have to celebrate Valentines Day in your classrooms and at home? What will your focus be?
Valentines Day: to candy or not to candy?
February 14th is like Halloween in that it’s a holiday I immediately associate with candy. So often, the Valentines that we find to purchase at the store include or are centered around candy. Or, you might have struggled to find Valentines you and your child liked. No fear, we’re here to save you from driving around to every Target this weekend (not that that is typically a problem for me, but ye, there’s only so much time in a day) by sharing with you these candy-less Valentines! All you need for these is to have a color printer and some scissors and you’re all set!
For some fun Valentines activities to do this weekend, we have these free printable activities. The weather looks beautiful, but perhaps you’ll have some time to work on these with your families or students on Monday.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours from all of us here at MTT and MTTES!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.