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from classroom crafts to kindness challenges embracing valentine's day traditions in canada
From Classroom Crafts to Kindness Challenges: Embracing Valentine’s Day Traditions in Canada
from classroom crafts to kindness challenges embracing valentine's day traditions in canada

From Classroom Crafts to Kindness Challenges: Embracing Valentine’s Day Traditions in Canada

No matter where you’re from, Valentine’s Day is a time-honoured tradition worldwide, and Canada is no exception. Celebrated on February 14th, many of us dedicate this special day to showing our love and affection to loved ones. 

History of Valentine’s Day

From what we know, the origins of Valentine’s Day trace back to ancient Rome and the legend of St. Valentine, which you can read about here. But its modern celebration is attributed to the exchange of love notes in the Middle Ages, and it is during this time that Valentine’s Day slowly began to evolve into a celebration of romantic love. 

In Canada, the tradition of Valentine’s Day began to take hold in the 19th century, influenced by British and French customs. Over time, it has become a widely celebrated occasion, characterized by the exchange of cards, flowers, chocolates and other tokens of affection between husbands and wives, partners, family members and friends. 

Celebrating in Canada

Like any other country that celebrates Valentine’s Day, Canadians celebrate with a variety of traditions and customs that reflect the diverse and multicultural landscape of North America. While some Canadians might opt for traditional gestures such as sending greeting cards or arranging a special night out, others may choose more unconventional ways to express their love. From adventurous activities to cozy nights in, the possibilities of expressing one’s love are endless. 

Valentine’s Day at School

In Canada, children often get to learn about and celebrate Valentine’s Day at school. Many elementary schools, in particular, see it as an opportunity for children to express kindness, friendship and appreciation for their classmates and teachers. 

Card-making

In the days leading up to February 14th, students at my elementary school would often partake in card writing. We would create our own cards from scratch, using large pieces of paper, pencil crayons and funnily-shaped scissors from the art room. Some students purchased Valentine’s Day cards and brought them to class to distribute to their classmates. Card-making activities in class typically focused on featuring colourful designs, playful messages and drawings, providing a fun and creative way for children to express their sentiments. 

Activities and crafts

Other Valentine’s Day activities at my school included decorating the classrooms and hallways in pink and red ribbons, and baking or cooking for classroom parties. We often baked cookies and cupcakes, decorating them with icing and sprinkles once they were out of the oven. We would even create handmade Valentine’s Day crafts to put up on the classroom walls, participate in themed games and puzzles, and pass out small gifts like pink pencils, heart-shaped erasers and chocolates. 

A teachable moment

Many teachers seize Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to discuss themes of friendship, kindness and inclusion. At my school, teachers often led discussions with their students about the importance of showing appreciation for others and practicing empathy and compassion. 

During some years, we would participate in the ‘Kindness Challenge’, an activity that challenged us to perform acts of kindness, such as complimenting a classmate, helping a friend with a task, or expressing gratitude to a member of the school staff. These actions were kept track on the whiteboard, and at the end of the day, the student with the most points would receive an extra cookie or cupcake. 

How to make the most of Valentine’s Day this year

February 14th is approaching fast, but it’s not too late to plan. Whether you’re celebrating with that special someone, friends, or even treating yourself, here some quick ideas to help you create a memorable day:

  • Plan a surprise: Surprise your loved one(s) with something they’ve been wanting, or an experience they’ve been longing for. It could be a small gesture like breakfast in bed or a handwritten letter, or something bigger like a spontaneous concert or a fancy dinner reservation. 
  • Get creative: Bored of cards, flowers and chocolates? Think outside the box and opt for a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) approach. Create personalized gifts, such as a photo album filled with cherished memories or a curated playlist of songs that are meaningful to your relationship. 
  • Spend quality time: This one’s simple! Dedicate the day to spending quality time with your loved one(s). 
  • Practice self-love: Single or not, take the day to practice self-love and self-care. Treat yourself to a spa day, indulge in your favourite foods and activities, or simply spend the day reflecting on the things you love and appreciate the most about yourself. 

Sources: History of Valentine’s Day

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