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By Angela Padrón

Valentine’s Day is celebrated each year on February 14 in many places around the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, France and Australia. On this holiday, about one billion million cards are sent, flowers and chocolates are given, and love is in the air. People believe a cherub named Cupid has a magic bow and arrow that he will shoot at people to make them fall in love with each other. The holiday is name for the legendary St. Valentine. But who is this saint and how did this holiday come about?

One story states that in Rome, there was an emperor named Claudius II. He banned marriage for young men because believed that single men were better soldiers than married ones. A priest named Valentine felt this was not just and continued to secretly perform marriages for young lovers. That is, until he was discovered by Claudius and sentenced to death. A second legend states that Valentine was imprisoned for helping Christians escape Roman rule. When he was in jail, he wrote a letter to a girl with whom he fell in love, signing the “From your Valentine.” Whichever story you believe, the fact is that St. Valentine is considered a heroic and romantic figure in history.

While Valentine’s Day is celebrated mostly by adults giving each other presents and going out to eat at restaurants, kids can also express their love and admiration for their family, friends, and teachers. Here are some things that parents and kids can do to celebrate this day of love:

  • Create a valentine’s day card from scratch, using construction paper, doilies, sequences, and other decorations
  • Help your family members make a “lovely” breakfast of heart-shaped waffles or pancakes or bake heart-shaped cookies together
  • Rather than buying chocolate, find the ingredients and molds to make your own chocolate pieces
  • Make a heartfelt photo collage from family pictures cut into hearts
  • Write letters or poems to classmates and family members telling others why they are special people in their lives
  • Instead of cutting flowers, plant flowers in a garden or visit a botanical garden
  • Share stories of your family’s history, telling how spouses or grandparents met
  • Create “love” coupons for members of your family for free hugs, kisses, compliments, and other signs of affection
  • Read a children’s book together that is related to love or friendship

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Don’t forget to recognize the people you love, too!

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