How Kids Celebrate Valentine’s Day Around the World

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Valentine’s Day for Kids in the US

In the US, kids celebrate Valentine’s Day in grade school.  They give Valentines to each other.  These are little cards, often flat.  Often they will attach a little piece of candy to each Valentine to give to their classmates. Nowadays, children are asked to give a Valentine to all the other kids in their class so that it’s not just the popular kids getting a lot of Valentines.

Bertha wrote to me today asking about how kids celebrate Valentine’s Day in Italy and around the world.  Here’s what she wrote:

How do school children in Italy celebrate Valentine’s Day?  Do they exchange valentines?  Do they have a party?  All the websites about Italian holidays just give information on what adults do on Valentine’s Day.  It would be interesting for children in all cultures to know about the different Valentine’s Day traditions for children in school.

Valentine’s Day in Italy

I asked Emanuela Marsura, a grade school teacher in Italy, about Valentine’s Day traditions for kids in Italy. Here’s what she wrote back:

Hello Lisa,

Children do not celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in school. It is a celebration of people in love: the man gives flowers and chocolates to his wife or girlfriend, someone goes out in the evening for dinner.  In some shops they sell beautiful boxes with heart-shaped chocolates or chocolates in the shape of rose buds, or postcards with special messages.

Some boyfriends give their girlfriends a ring as a first commitment or as an engagement ring. But that isn’t for everyone.

Even married couples give gifts, and sometimes the child is involved in preparing a surprise, maybe a cake for dad, or a bouquet of flowers for mom. But this is a celebration within the family. Ciao

Valentine’s Day in France

I asked Monique, a retired grade school teacher in France what they do there.  Here’s what she wrote:

This is when I see the different ways of considering what schools are for. No, they don’t do anything at school. If they’re in love, it’s a private matter and teachers don’t interfere and they’d better not: children often make fun of their peers in love. Every time I had to step in was to ask some kid to respect the others’ feelings. Emotions are the same all life long and a child in love deserves as much respect as an adult…

I think in the US, grade school teachers use all the holidays as a way of making learning fun.  The child is thinking of the cards they’re writing instead of the fact that they’re writing and writing and writing out all those cards.  Meanwhile, they’re practicing their skills.

Valentine’s Day Differences

This is all interesting. It seems that in some countries Valentine’s Day is mainly a show of love for couples.  While in the US, for kids it’s also a show of friendship and sometimes familial love.  A son can give his Mom candy on Valentine’s Day to show his love for her, or a daughter may give her parents a Valentine’s Day card she made to show her love.   

Please let us know how children or adults celebrate Valentine’s Day where you live.

No matter how you celebrate, Happy Valentine’s Day!

xo Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 at 5:25 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, English, France, Gift Giving, Holidays Around the World, Italy, Languages, USA, Valentine's Day, Valentines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “How Kids Celebrate Valentine’s Day Around the World”

  1. Monique Says:

    France: It’s “Saint Valentin, la fête des amoureux” (Valentine’s Day, Lovers’ day). Actually, we do it the same way as in Italy, men buy a bunch of flowers or some jewelry or perfume or something personal for their wives, girlfriends and mistresses. Women do the same for their husbands, boyfriends and lovers, they buy… (more difficult for men!) a good bottle of wine, aftershave or cologne… and no, you don’t give a new vacuum cleaner or a new drill as a Valentine’s present!

    … and of course, going just the two of them (en amoureux, quoi) to a good restaurant, well, anything that says, “ROMANCE”. Perhaps some spa care, jacuzzi or the like together.

  2. Carolina Says:

    Hello! My name is Carolina I am a teacher in Colombia, South America! In schools we do not celebrate valentines day in february but we do celebrate love and friendship day every third saturday on September! What we do at schools is write down the names of all students in the class in little folded papers and have them into a bowl or bag randomly so everyone in the class can pick a little paper without letting others know who they got. So it is a kind of secret friend.
    It is usual that kids leave some candy on the secret friend ‘s desk or even anonymous friendship cards. This activity goes over one week (the second week on September) and then, on the third week of the month, all classes do an activity to exchange gifts so kids are able to finally let everybody know who was their secret friend. Kids enjoy rhus activity so much because it is exciting for them to discover who was the secret friend. This activity is nice because it involves all the kids so everybody has a friendship gift. In some schools kids buy the gift the want for their secret friend but in other schools the teacher collects a list of the possible gifts kids would like to receive from their secret friend so kids have an idea in case they dont know what to give so teacher sticks ithe list on the classroom wall so everybody is able to check what his/her secret friend would like to receive.
    Kids also give some chocolates or affection cards to the teachers that day.
    That’s the way we use to celebrate love and friendship day with the kids at schools in Colombia. :)

  3. Lisa Says:

    Thank you for sharing your tradition with us Carolina! -Mama Lisa

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