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Valentine’s Day: Celebrating Love & Friendship

Child playing with letters, spelling out "Love you".

In Spain, when we want to say “Happy Valentine’s Day!”, we say “¡Felíz día de San Valentin!”. Our more seasoned Language Assistants might be able to point out that the word “San” means “Saint”. In Spain, although celebrated in similar ways, we recognize the 14th of February as Saint Valentine’s Day. 

Who is Saint Valentine?

Saint Valentine was an Italian clergyman who lived during the 3rd century Roman Empire. The details of his life aren’t entirely clear, but he was believed to have been ministered to persecute Christians under the Roman Emperor Claudius II. Valentine defied Claudius’s decree prohibiting marriage for young men. At the time, young and single men were believed to make better soldiers, hence the prohibition of their marriage. Valentine performed marriages in secret, thus earning the reputation of the patron saint of love and marriage. He was eventually discovered, imprisoned, and executed on February 14, 269 AD. 

Just like many countries, in Spain, Valentine’s Day is known as the day of love and romance, celebrated with roses, heart-shaped gifts, and romantic dinners. Beyond this, in Spain, the holiday also honors friendship. Friends often exchange cards, gifts, and tokens of appreciation, making it a day to celebrate the ties of friendship as well.

Valentine’s Day Arts & Crafts

Bring Festivities into the Classroom

At the end of the day, Valentine’s Day is not exclusive to lovers. It’s a day when we show our appreciation to those who surround us. Find a way to show your students how much they mean to you! They will appreciate it. If you want to implement the holiday during one of your classes, but don’t know how, here are some ideas:

  1. Card Making: Encourage your students to write a couple of cards for their loved ones in the language you are teaching them. 
  2. Class discussion: Lead a class discussion about the history of Valentine’s Day and compare the customs with those of your home country.
  3. Vocabulary Bingo: Create bingo cards using love and friendship-related words and have your students match the English words to their Spanish translation as you call them out.

If you are interested in how other holidays are celebrated in Spain, such as Christmas, check out The Top Spanish Christmas Traditions! If you’d like to know a little more about Spanish culture, here are 8 Sentences that Reflect Spanish Culture.

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