The Evolution of Valentine’s Day
The day of boxed chocolates. The day of flowers. The day of hearts. From simple cards to marriage proposals, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and thus the annual frenzy is hitting schools across the nation.
As one progresses through the education system, Valentine’s Day has evolved from a class party in elementary school to a regular day in high school. Each successive level of school has different ways of celebrating the widely commemorated, and sometimes dreaded, day.
In elementary school, entire class card exchanges are the norm, with little room for exclusion. Picking out Valentine’s themed cards and distributing them to classmates, delicately decorating shoe boxes, and hoping that little crush would write a little more than just your name were fond memories from class parties. However, rarely do preteen children have “that special someone” to exchange their love with and the forced affection of Valentine’s Day often consumes our elementary years.
“I still think [each child giving out a valentine] is a nice way to share a greeting with each other,” Reed Elementary School teacher Debi Fitzgerald said. “Our kids have included everyone in the class for so many years, exclusion is no longer an issue nor one that is questioned by parents or kids anymore.”
And then the awkward years of middle school commence. Most people grimace at the mere thought of middle school. The clothes, the braces, and most of all, the “relationships.” Valentine’s Day for middle schoolers is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, there are no longer forced exchanges of “love” while on the other, most middle schoolers are confused about life in general and days designated for “the L-word” only make matters worse. Some bold middle schoolers do muster up the courage and will send a candy-gram or leave a note in their crushes’ locker and hope that their affections will be returned. However, a majority of middle schoolers steer clear from anything that would humiliate them and keep it strictly friends only.
“Not many middle schoolers give out valentines,” LMS social studies teacher Erin Hurley said. “A few kids bring candy and share it with their friends. I rarely see the traditional school valentine cards that are popular at the elementary schools.”
The inverted triangle of selective Valentine’s giving continues and unless one has a boyfriend or girlfriend or “kind- of- thing,” Valentine’s Day is just another day in high school. The act of giving Valentine’s to friends is often too much for most high schoolers to handle. Busy schedules filled with academics and extracurricular activities prevent most people from buying Valentine’s, let alone writing out messages and giving them.
For couples, especially in high school, Valentine’s Day is a lovely time to appreciate that one has a significant other. For singles, Valentine’s Day is a resented, almost subconsciously suppressed, day in February because it offers the opportunity to reflect on how hopelessly or happily single one is. Others view being it in a more optimistic light.
“When I’m not celebrating with anyone special, I focus on my mother and how much I love her,” junior Jerome Gregory said. “For me, it’s not that bad being single on Valentine’s Day.”
The evolution of Valentine’s Day through the progression of school is one of the restrictive kind. As one matures, Valentine’s Day becomes less entrancing and much more ordinary. It passes by some without a glance. Friends barely acknowledge it. In most cases, only when one has a significant other does the day become more appealing and then do people see why it’s such a rejoiced day for couples everywhere.