Cultural Celebrations of Love: A Lesson for Valentine’s Day

 
 
Looking for a lesson for Valentine's Day? Every culture has different celebrations of love. Whether they call it Valentine's Day or not, most cultures devote at least one day a year to the celebration of love. Let's bring those stories into our classrooms this year.

Looking for a lesson for Valentine’s Day? Every culture has different celebrations of love. Whether they call it Valentine’s Day or not, most cultures devote at least one day a year to the celebration of love. Let’s bring those stories into our classrooms this year.
 

Cultural Celebrations of Love

In the U.S. and many western nations, we give cards, chocolates, flowers, and even jewelry to our sweethearts on February 14.
 
In Japan and South Korea, women give expensive chocolates to their significant other. The men give the ladies gifts on March 14.
 
In Malaysia, single women write their numbers on oranges and throw them into a river, hoping that their soul-mate will find it and call them. Usually, local merchants go fishing for these. They are considered good luck, and sell at top dollar.
 
But the stories are the best. In the West we’ve forgotten them, but in China, they still tell the tale of Niulong, a mortal who fell in love with a fairy. Although they were forbidden by the jade emperor to be together, Niulong rode magic shoes to the heavens to be with his beloved. The jade empress created the milky way as a barrier between them, but her heart was softened by a flock of magpies that built a bridge for the lovers, and she allowed them to be together one day a year. The Chinese celebrate that day in August. They call it Qixi, and it is very similar to Valentine’s Day.
 
The story that Hallmark has made us forget in the West is the tale of St. Valentine. St. Valentine lived in the 3rd century A.D. under the Roman Empire. The emperor had outlawed marriage among young people because he believed that marriage made men weak soldiers. St. Valentine married many young couples in secret.
 
He was eventually caught and sentenced to death. While in prison, St. Valentine allegedly prayed with the blind daughter of one of the guards, and her sight was restored. He wrote her a note that said, “From your Valentine.” The first Valentine!
 

A Lesson for Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, keep the stories alive with this web quest about Valentine’s Day in different cultures–print and digital versions. I use it in my sociology class, but it’s also great for world history, geography, and ELA.

In this engaging lesson for Valentine’s Day, students will embark on a cultural journey, discovering how love is celebrated across the globe, from the colorful streets of Brazil to the serene landscapes of South Korea. They’ll dive into the rich traditions of Malaysia, Scotland, France, China, and Japan, uncovering the unique ways each culture commemorates this day of love.

This lesson not only enlightens students about the diverse cultural celebrations of love but also addresses the complexities and challenges faced in countries like India and Saudi Arabia, where Valentine’s Day celebrations can evoke controversy and societal debates. By examining these global perspectives, students gain a deeper appreciation for the varied expressions of love and the significance of cultural context in shaping these celebrations.

For a hands-on extension, learners are encouraged to select a particular country’s Valentine’s tradition that resonates with them. They’ll research further and creatively showcase their findings through a class gallery walk. This activity reinforces their understanding of the cultural celebrations of love and fosters creativity and critical thinking.

A detailed rubric is provided to guide students through this project, ensuring they meet the learning objectives while engaging deeply with the material. This comprehensive lesson for Valentine’s Day provides an educational adventure, cultivating global awareness and empathy among students as they explore the many dimensions of love around the world.

 
 
 This lesson has students explore how Valentines Day is celebrated in different cultures. It comes with a print and digital version.
Get it Here!
 

What Teachers Like You Said

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “Students enjoyed this activity! They got right down to work. They helped each other if it was needed. And, most importantly, they learned about other cultures (the topic we were covering in class) in a fun way on Valentine’s Day! Thank you!!”

Elizabeth R.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “This was a great Valentine’s Day activity for Sociology. Students were engaged in learning about other cultures and comparing their traditions to our own. Thank you!”

Janelle B.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “My students loved this resource! It is a great addition to my curriculum.”


Bridgitt E.
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