Valentine's Day

Learn about Valentine's Day Traditions in the United States

Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day each year on February 14th by sending cards or letters, giving gifts such as chocolate or flowers, and having meals in restaurants. Many adults see Valentine’s Day as an occasion to offer expensive gifts such as jewelry to their sweetheart. It is also an ideal occasion for marriage proposals and weddings. School children often exchange Valentine cards and candy with their classmates. Sometimes students make their own Valentine cards in class, which are usually decorated with images of hearts, red roses, or Cupid. A short and sweet message, such as the following well-known rhyme often appears on the card:

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, And so are you!

Classroom Activities

Activity 1 (Intermediate learners)

Read the chapter about Valentine’s Day in Celebrate! Holidays in the U.S.A.

Look at the images and symbols in the reading selection. What do they represent? What symbols, colors, or foods represent love or romance where you live?

Prepare some colored paper, scissors, pens, glue, etc. Have students make Valentine's Day cards for friends or classmates, using some of the vocabulary or expressions found in the reading.

Activity 2 (Advanced learners)

Listen to the Voice of America Podcast, “A Valentine's Day Test: Find Out What Those Xs and Os Really Mean

This podcast discusses how modern means of communication, such as text messages or emails, have impacted or changed the way people express their love in relationships. Prepare several discussion questions about ways people express their love in your culture and how technology and the Internet are changing or have changed how people express love.

Separate the students into groups, and give each group one question to answer. After five minutes, students should move to the next question, and so on, until all questions have been answered. Then bring students back together as a whole group to share their responses and discuss.

Social Media Activities

Visit the American English at State Facebook page to post about your culture and learn from others about their cultures.

Participate in this conversation by sharing how people in your country celebrate Valentine’s Day or a similar special day, including the date you celebrate, what people do to celebrate, what typical gifts are given on this day, or any specific cultural information.

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