Education

From the Mouth of Babes: What Does Valentine’s Day Mean?

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Valentine’s Day is among the sweetest of all widely celebrated holidays—and that’s not just because of the chocolate. While many people view the heart-filled day as all about love, romance, and being on guard for Cupid’s arrows, it’s actually a far cry from some of the holiday’s root origins.

Here’s a brief look at the history of Valentine’s Day, as well as some responses from our students about what the holiday means to them.

A Brief History of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is most commonly associated with a patron saint named Valentine or Valentinus. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day, and Valentine greetings go back as far as the Middle Ages (though written Valentines didn’t appear until after 1400). In the 1840s, a woman named Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America and became known as the “Mother of the Valentine.” Today, an estimated 1 billion Valentines are given out each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.

And what about all the candy, flowers, and gifts? Well, when it comes to love, it’s easy to see how the tradition of giving these sweet gifts soon became common practice.

What Valentine’s Day Means to The Gardner School Students

At The Gardner School, it’s common to see the spirit of Valentine’s Day blooming in hallways and classrooms. Many of our students celebrate by bringing in cards for their classmates to place into Valentine boxes, as well as through creating a variety of fun Valentine’s Day arts and crafts.

We asked some of our students to share what Valentine’s Day and love means to them, as well as who they’ll be calling their Valentine this year. Enjoy these heart-warming responses below.

THE GARDNER SCHOOL OF DUBLIN

Addie, Age 6—What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? “A day where my parents hang out with each other, and I give them presents.”

Arjen, Age 4—What is Love? “Singing songs with Poppy.”  

Brigid, Age 2—What is Love? “Skittles and putting bows in my hair.”

Damien, Age 5—What is Love? “You hug people.”

Ethan, Age 3—What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? “Giving cards to people.” 

Ava, Age 6—What is Love? “Going out for a special breakfast with mommy.”  

THE GARDNER SCHOOL OF HERNDON

Revinn, Age 4—What does Valentine's Day mean to you? “Valentine’s Day means lots and lots of candy.”

Kristen, Age 4—What does Valentine's Day mean to you? “On Valentine’s Day, I share a lot of love with mommy and daddy and special treats for my friends.”

Christian, Age 5—What is love? “Love is being nice to your family, pets, and everyone all day.”

Anicah, Age 5—What does Valentine's Day mean to you? “Valentine’s Day means that it’s my birthday.”

Saharsh, Age 4—Who is your Valentine this year? “My Valentine is my teacher.”

Billy, Age 4—What is love? “I love my mommy every day!”

THE GARDNER SCHOOL OF MINNETONKA

Henry, Age 2—Who is your Valentine this year? “I love Mommy, Daddy, and Ms. Callie! I love you Finny!”

Addie, Age 2—What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? “I love my Daddy and hearts.”

Evan, Age 3—What is love? “Love means hugs and kisses and to do that you need x’s and o’s.”

Sloane, Age 3—What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? “I love Mommy, Daddy, and Sissy.  I make a card on Valentine’s Day.”

Sofie, Age 2—Who is your Valentine this year? “I love Ms. Elena!”

Jaxon, Age 3—What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? “I will give presents to my old friends.”

THE GARDNER SCHOOL OF NAPERVILLE

Libby, Age 3—What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? “Celebrating love.”

Gavin, Age 3—Who is your Valentine this year? “Me.”

June, Age 3—What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? “Giving mommy, daddy, and baby Grant hugs.”

Zoey, Age 4—What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? “Decorating my Valentine’s Day box.”

THE GARDNER SCHOOL OF NASHVILLE

Andrew, Age 3—What is love? “Love is when Santa is here. Santa is my Valentine.”

Roland, Age 3—Who is your Valentine this year? “My mom.”

Charlie, Age 5—What does Valentine's Day mean to you? “It means I can go to a special place with me and my mom.”

Andrew, Age 4—What does Valentine's Day mean to you? “It means February 14th.”

Deloris, Age 3—Who is your Valentine this year? “Mine? I don’t know… I have a lot of people.”

Paul, Age 4—What is love? “Love is when you hug somebody.”

Here’s to a happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours this year from The Gardner School! Whatever ways you choose to celebrate, may you feel the love from those along your path…and feel free to also spread a little love to others while you’re at it.