At Laurel Springs, our global community of learners consists of students, faculty, and staff living all over the world. To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, we asked our Social Studies teachers how they’ve experienced Valentine’s Day in other countries.
Teacher Ms. Samantha Reuning lives in South Africa and tells us that since becoming a democracy, Valentine’s Day has become a very popular holiday. “The country’s geographical location makes it the perfect tourist destination. Major festivities are held in the cities of Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, and many people celebrate by spending an all-inclusive weekend away at a game reserve or at the beach. Local schools also celebrate the holiday in a big way with Valentine’s Day Breakfasts and Dances, and in some parts of the country, girls celebrate the occasion by pinning the name of their sweethearts on their sleeves.”
“When I lived in China, only the young people celebrated Valentine’s Day in February. The older people celebrate an ancient love day in the summer. Those who celebrate in February have identical traditions to us in the West as they adopted the holiday from the US.” Teacher Nick Kaisharis also shared that he tried to buy his wife a bouquet of her favorite flowers, yellow peonies, for Valentine’s Day one year, and the shop owner in China would not allow it. He told Mr. Kaisharis that in China if you present someone with yellow flowers it means you want to break up! He decided on traditional red roses instead.
Teacher Mr. Tom Jensen shared his experiences of celebrating Valentine’s Day in Korea: “In Korea, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th, but the way it is celebrated is different. On this day, women give men chocolates. A month later, on March 14th, White Day, men give women chocolates. On Black Day, April 14th, single friends go out together and eat traditional black noodles, called Ja Ja Myung.”
Ms. Sally Loughborough, a Laurel Springs teacher living in Thailand, shared with us that Valentine’s Day has been adopted by young adults as a way to show affection, but it is not a widely popular holiday. “Buying a rose, a card, and candy is done by teens and young, dating adults.”
Teacher Mr. Nick Kaisharis spent some time living in England and let us know that one of the teachers he was working with dressed up as Father Valentine at school. “The outfit consisted of a black vest suit and top hat. He would visit each classroom and bring candy for the students. He is considered the Santa Claus (Father Christmas) of Valentine’s Day.”
Tell us how you celebrate Valentine’s Day around the world! Comment on our social media post on February 14th and share with the school community.