On February 14 many people around the world celebrated Valentine’s Day. In some countries, Valentine’s Day is only for lovers. However, in the United States Valentine’s Day is about celebrating all the different kinds of ‘love’ and appreciation we have for the people in our lives! It is not unusual for friends to exchange cards or small gifts (or these days to send each other a funny meme). Some people will even give chocolates or something small to their doormen, superintendent or to anyone that makes their life – even in a small way – better.
In this blog we will look briefly at the history of Valentine’s Day in America and how it became a day for all kinds of love. Then we will talk about Valentine’s Day at Zoni: how our students celebrate and how studying with us can help you learn to love different cultures, perspectives, and become better global citizens!
We will be sharing some Black history month facts with you.
Valentine’s Day has been celebrated in the United States since the 1800’s, although it wasn’t until the 20th century that the holiday became truly popular. Of course, Valentine’s Day is much older than this. Its exact origins aren’t really known. It is believed to have come from blending the ancient pagan fertility festival, Lupercalia with the story of Saint Valentine. However, there were multiple men named Valentine (Valentinus) in Catholicism, and it is impossible to know which one (or ones) are honored on Valentine’s Day.
Aside from expressing your romantic love for your special person, Valentine’s Day has a long tradition in the United States of celebrating love in general. For example, many years ago people would send flowers with special meanings to each other. The person receiving the flowers would then decode the message. For example, sending daffodils meant good luck, bluebells symbolize kindness and pink carnations were sent to tell someone that you would never forget them.
In the 1900’s Valentine’s Day was often celebrated by whole towns with fairs, pageants, concerts, and other community events. You can see that even very early; American Valentine’s Day was a more inclusive holiday and not simply for people in love.
Today people celebrate Valentine’s Day in a wide variety of ways. From romantic dinners to celebrating with classmates and friends. Most young school children will make cards in their art classes to give to their family and friends. Elementary students enjoy small parties at school and exchange small Valentine’s Day cards that are usually funny and include puns and word play. Usually, these cards are given with a small chocolate or candy and are placed in a bag or box decorated by the child for Valentine’s Day.
Grade school and high school students usually don’t have a special celebration to exchange Valentines, but students usually give a small token to their close friends or romantic interest.
The point of these card/gift exchanges is to brighten someone’s day. Giving and receiving Valentine’s wishes is an American tradition to help spread positivity and of course love for our peers and people who matter most to us.
We love Valentine’s Day and use it as an opportunity to remind students to love one another! We don’t mean finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, we mean learning from each other and respecting our differences!
That doesn’t mean we don’t decorate or do Valentine’s Day-themed activities in class – we love a celebration! But for us, Valentine’s Day is also about the important opportunity to study abroad and learning another language allows us to “fall in love” with another culture!
The Zoni community consists of students from many different countries and cultural backgrounds. On campus students interact with peers from places they never expected and while doing so learn more about that country’s culture, traditions, and values. While learning English is the main focus at Zoni, students have great opportunities to understand and appreciate different perspectives. Through making friends, many of our students are inspired to visit new countries or spend time trying new foods and celebrating traditions. Outside of the classroom students are also offered exciting activities and excursions where they can also spend time with students from other classes and campuses. We think that it is important to spark that love of learning about new cultures and even when faced with a different world view, our students can still embrace differences.
If you would like to learn more about Zoni Language Centers visit our website: www.zoni.edu or call us on +1 (212) 736-9000
535 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018