Several schools across Minnesota are scrapping their Valentine’s Day parties. Officials say the move is not intended to crush the blossoms of young love, but to make activities more inclusive for students — regardless of their religion or socioeconomic status.
Some schools are planning to spread the love with other activities. For example, KARE reported schools in the Eden Prairie School District will participate in a day of community service. Schools in the Roseville District will celebrate Friendship Day instead.
Some parents took to Facebook to voice their displeasure. "I live in Eden Prairie and we do a 'Friendship' party. Now that I have 3 kiddos I have to say that it makes me sad for them not having the same memories in school that we had growing up. Even though my family has the cash to buy pre-made Valentine's, we made them ourselves this year. Also, Valentine's Day is not a religious holiday — not in the bible anywhere. It is actually a Hallmark holiday," wrote Katrina Beutow.
Though the practice of giving cards and expressing romantic affection on Valentine’s Day originated in the Middle Ages, the holiday has its roots in the ancient Roman holiday, Lupercalia. Later, the celebration evolved to include St. Valentine, a Christian martyr.
The Blaze reports that Dezery Castillo, the mom of a preschooler, says her daughter was "brought to tears after she was told she couldn’t exchange valentines because of a state regulation."
Other adults were happy with the school’s changing practices. "I teach Kindergarten in Maple Grove... We do an all out Valentine's Party that the parent volunteers help run. We lead up to the day emphasizing sharing, kindness, etc. — ways to be a good friend. The kids just LOVE it & I think we are making great memories!!," Martha Krueger wrote on Facebook.
Despite the changes, Lisa MacMartin, the owner of The Heartfelt craft store in Linden Hills, Minnesota, said a lot of customers are opting for homemade Valentines this year. Many of her patrons are still attached to the nostalgia of Valentine’s Day.
"I heard a little bit about Friendship Day, a lot of schools are still doing Valentines in this area. We certainly see a lot of kids from the Waldorf School and so they do handmade Valentines and a number of preschools in the area like to have Valentines exchanged, too. We are still seeing it's a strong holiday for the children and the parents, too,” MacMartin said.