About the event
Valentine’s Day began as a Christian day to remember Saint Valentine, a martyr who lived during the 3rd century. According to legend, Saint Valentine was executed for secretly marrying couples who were forbidden to wed during the Roman Empire. Because of this the day has become associated with romantic love, a tradition which has spread worldwide in the last hundred years. Every country has slightly different Valentine's Day traditions, but many involve the giving of gifts and spending time with loved ones and sometimes friends.
How to approach it
Valentine's Day can be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate loving relationships in all their forms, but it can also be a difficult day for a number of reasons. This is particularly the case if emphasis is placed on traditional heterosexual romantic relationships which have come to characterise the day. To avoid feelings of exclusion this day can be an opportunity to talk about and celebrate relationships in general. This could be love between friends, family or partners of any orientation.
It's also important to be aware that some students experiencing feelings of loneliness may feel uncomfortable focusing on relationships of any kind. With this in mind, focus on creating a supportive environment for everyone. This can be done by talking about how we can make everyone feel included, supported, heard and valued. You could ask: why is it important to have good relationships with those around us? How can we create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone? What makes a good relationship? How can we build new relationships with people we don’t know?
It might be useful to also discuss the question: why might we sometimes enjoy being alone? What is good about spending time by ourselves? Through this you can show your class that there is no pressure to be in a relationship.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just about romantic relationships. What other kinds of relationships can you think of? How can we make our classes, school and communities places in which everyone feels loved and included?