Who was Valentine? Some legends link him to erotic festivals in ancient Rome that happened to take place during February. Women would dress up as wolves and wait to be whipped by men wearing loin cloths. Today in Italy and Greece, young men still chase young women while brandishing whips - made of plastic. The Lupercalia (Feb. 15), was a fertility festival until 495 A.D., when a pope put a stop to it. Another legend holds that Valentinus was a priest in third-century Rome who secretly married couples, although the Emperor had forbidden it. According to another legend Valentinus was a Christian imprisoned for refusing to worship pagan gods. Supposedly he cured his jailer's blind daughter through prayers. On February 14, the day of his execution, he sent her a note, signed "Your Valentine." Or maybe he was the Bishop of Terni, born around 268, who was executed for his Christian beliefs. Of him it is said that he presented lovers with flowers. For whatever reason, he was canonized in the Middle Ages, and St. Valentine has been the patron Saint of lovers ever since.

In Germany men and women give each other flowers as an expression of love. The symbol of love for Germans are red Roses. "Dunkelrote Rosen, bring ich schöne Frau, und was das bedeutet, wissen Sie genau," goes one song. The name of Valentin(e) is also linked to the brother of Margarete (Gretchen) in Faust, the brother who defended his sister's honor to his death.

Ruth Reichmann
Max Kade German-American Center, IUPUI


  • QUICKLY!!! Lengthy list of Valentine's sayings in German
  • Multiple choice handout using sayings on heart candies
  • How do you say I love you in different languages? BRIEFLY Try the related quiz to see if you know.
  • Free Valentine's pins for the asking - Ich bin geliebt Pins


  • Enter two names and it will calculate your chances for love - one and two Liebesbarometer - enter two names
  • Gänseblümchen Game - (S)he loves me, (s)he loves me not. Choose flower and pluck
  • Valentine greeting game: the best of both worlds

  • Hit F11 key after clicking this link to the Liebesbarometer. See below to understand the results:


  • My info and links to German Wedding Customs and Traditions
  • What Milka Valentine's treats are there?
  • Museum der Museum der Scherenschnitte


    For Valentine's Day the French teacher in my building and I have been doing the same activity for a few years. It promotes interest in both languages going both directions. First, we create a generic (empth) Valentine's Day card with Print Shop or Publisher (give yourself credit on the back - "Eine Herr C. Karte" - the kids that notice love it). Then we pass out a list of 30 - 40 of those stupid Valentine's greetings you find on the candy kisses (Küss mich! - Ich liebe Dich - Du machst mich verrückt - Nimm mich! - Halte mich fest!, usw.). We just bought 5 of those cheap boxes and stole all of the sayings (and made up a few of our own). We have the students create a card to a student in the other language class, then we exchange cards. The kids go crazy trying to find out what "Maurice" in some French class had to say. The creating of cards we do on the 13th and the exchanging of cards is easy then on the 14th.

    Rob Williams wilr@MNIC.NET Easy Valentine's Day activity
    If you want an easy, 15-minute Valentine's Day activity that your kids will like, get a bunch of those heart-shaped candies with sayings on them. My kids don't like the regular kind (that tastes like chalk), so I get the "Sweet-tart" kind. I also see that WalMart now has Valentine's cookies with sayings on them. Get enough so all your kids can get about 1/4 cup full. I just put them in a baggie to make it easier to hand out.

    After you give the kids the candies, they need to get with a partner. They will also need a dictionary. Here's the assignment you give them:

    Imagine: You work for a German candy company. Your company has sent you and your co-worker to the United States to find out what candy people use for Valentine's Day there. While in the US, you find strange heart-shaped candies with writing on them. Your boss wants you to write a full description on paper of the candies so your company can make them in Germany, too. You may use a dictionary.

    In your description for your German boss, you write:
    1. How many you have.
    2. What the sayings mean in German.
    3. What the candies look like (shape, color, size, etc.)
    4. What the candies taste like.
    5. What you think the ingredients (Zutaten) are.

    Since your boss in Germany is very picky, your description must be neat. Both you and your partner's name need to be at the top. And since your boss needs the description as soon as possible, you have only 15 minutes to complete it. Your boss will give you a grade!

    From now until Valentines Day, I give my students one point for every student they can teach the phrase: "Kuess mich, ich spreche Deutsch" to. When the learner comes in and tells me the phrase, I give them a Hershey's kiss, and I have come in contact with another student I normally would not have come in contact with. I took it a little further and gave my students a sheet of 20 coupons upon which they write their name. As soon as their student has come in and said the phrase, they may put their coupon into a box. On Valentines Day, I will draw a name out of the box and present them with a wonderful teddybear. I bought a bunch on sale after last year's Valentines day. The maximum is 20 coupons per per student, but the points are a gift. Many can use them right about now. It is one way to promote the program, and something a little different. Inge S

    Just wanted to say that we did this idea this year and it was the most positive Valentines day activity ever - We used it with plain adjectives in first year and using adjective endings in the other. On all levels we had a hefty amount of glitter in silver and gold available (Our second secret weapon for recruiting, the first being cinnamon) Thanks so much for sharing it - it was easy to figure out and made German the hit of the day. Gretchen L, Enumclaw WA

    On Mon, 9 Feb 1998, Margaret P wrote: We have used a list of positive adjectives borrowed from to create a Scherenschnitte circle of hearts, - actually a circle with a circle of hearts around it. In the middle circle students write "Du bist . . .", then in each of the 8 surrounding hearts they write a different adjective. We use a few minutes of class to look at examples of Scherenschnitte, including a fancy example of a ring of hearts, and then students cut their own patterns and fill in the words as homework.

    My students made Scherenschnitte- hearts and I also bought little wooden hearts at a craft-store, self-adhesive magnet strips which I put on the back of the heart. I painted the hearts red, gave students in two classes a heart, a liquid-gold pen, asked them to write a Valentine saying in German on the heart and give it to a friend for Valentine's day. Since I just came up with this idea, I wanted to see how it would go over. The kids loved it. These heart-magnets will be a reminder of "Deutsch" every time they open their locker. Maybe I will have enough energy to make Lebkuchenherzen next year.
    Christa W

    I also had students write German phrases on heart magnets, but instead of using wooden ones, I bought a few sheets of thin cork (11X17 at $1.99) and cut hearts out. Students decorated them with fabric paints and wrote the phrases with Vis-a-vis markers. The final result looked very similar to Lebkuchen, but easier for me and a lasting momento for them!

    From: Sabine Lewis

    My 7/8 graders do (=memorize and perform) the following skit. It helps them to remember accusative pronouns. I found out that it also works with high school students.

    Skit: 'Sie liebt mich (nicht)'
    (Somewhere outside. Martin is plucking petals off a flower.)
    Martin: Sie liebt mich, sie liebt mich nicht, sie liebt mich, sie liebt mich nicht ...
    Karl (comes): Hallo, Martin. Wer liebt dich nicht?
    Martin: Ach, nichts.
    Karl: Annette vielleicht? Annette liebt Lukas.
    Martin: Lukas!? Nein, sie liebt ihn nicht!
    Karl: Annette hat gestern gesagt, sie liebt ihn.
    Martin (unsure): Vielleicht liebt sie uns beide.
    Fabian (comes): Wer liebt euch beide?
    Karl: Annette. Annette liebt Martin - und Lukas.
    Fabian: Annette? Unsinn, Annette liebt mich und ich liebe sie.
    (Annette walks by hand in hand with Peter.)
    Annette: Hallo.
    Peter: Tag.
    (Both off)
    Martin and Fabian: Frauen!

    From: Teri Ash
    Subject: Re: Scherenschnitte hearts / valentine poems

    I did the "Liebt mich nicht" skit and "valentine adjectives" with one class today since they'd had a test yesterday. They LOVED the skit. We pinned the character names to their shirts as they took time playing the different roles. A marvelous exercise and so timely for V-Day. And they loved the alphabet poems (or character poems) with the adjectives, they even demanded more words to use. One of my weakest girls said spontaneously that she'd probably spend the eveing making them up for people.

    From: Margaret Plank

    Subject: Scherenschnitte hearts / valentine poems

    Our local library has several books on Scherenschnitte, which show elaborate designs and give a brief history of the art. Local craft shops like Michaels used to carry simpler patterns. I use some examples from a book called "Folk Hearts" by Schaffner and Klein, published by Alfred A. Knopf in New York, 1984. It contains several examples of 18th and 19th century America Scherenschnitte (most of the messages in the heart designs are in the German language). Most students learned the basics of this art form in 1st grade, when they folded paper in half, once or twice, and cut the paper into "snowflakes", although what artists create, could hardly be compared to those snowflakes! To get them started, I drew half of a very basic ring of hearts on white paper, and xeroxed copies - when students fold the paper in half and cut out my design, they have a complete ring of 8 2" hearts. Those with no art talent have a start. In one heart they write "Du bist. . ., then put an adjective in each of the other hearts. Those who are creative can snip designs in the hearts, cut a riboon design for the top of the ring, cut a square or circle for the middle, write more elaborate messages, etc.

    Last year with "Transatlantic Classroom", we wrote alphabet poems - actually, we wrote poems of admiration for people, not just love poems, using a different adjective for each letter of the alphabet. Karl Pfeiffer created the assignment, based on a 17th century poem by Georg Philipp Harsd=F6rffer. You can read about that and more at: I would recommend reading some of his other assignments at (look under "Goldmine") Margaret

    From: Ken Joling
    Subject: Valentine's Day

    This idea is originally from Alma Hahn and can be found AATG's "Teaching Ideas: A Collection of Successful Classroom Strategies." First there's a simple matching activity. The Worte der Liebe are placed on opposite sides of a page and the German and corresponding English phrase need to be connected. Here's the German list: Kuess mich, Liebling, Sei treu, Schaetzchen, Rote Rosen, Umarme mich, Hab ein Herz, Sei mein, Ich liebe dich, Schenk mir dein Herz, Lieb nur mich allein, Traeume nur von mir, Ich gehe auf Wolken, Ich bin im siebten Himmel, Liebe auf den ersten Blick, Zerbrich mein Herz nicht, Mein Herz ist kein Spielzeug, Du verdrehst mir den Kopff, Du bedeutest mir so viel, and Mein Herz schlaegt nur fuer dich. Students can then use these to make their own valentines.

    Ich möchte wissen, wie Sie/ihr dieses "Hallmarkfest" in der Klasse feiert. Meine 1. Stufler lernen ein 'modernisiertes' Gedicht auswendig...

    Du bist mein
    Ich bin dein.
    Das sollst du gewiss sein.
    Du bist beschlossen in meinem Herzen,
    Verloren ist das Schlüsselein.
    Du musst immer drinne sein.

    (Ganz toll, weil wir uns zur Zeit auch mit den possessiven Adjektiven beschäftigen.)

    Wir werden natürlich Karten machen....UND... dieses Jahr habe ich vor eine Liebesverbindung-Quiz Show (The Love Connection) zu veranstalten. Die Schüler sollen sich Fragen schon vorher ausdenken, usw...

    I've introduced that modern version by letting them replace the vowels that I've taken out.

    -ch b-n d--n
    D- b-st m--n etc.
    The big words I explain with pantomime and pictures. This has been one of those activities that let my first year students amaze themselves with what they know.

    Regarding S' idea "The Love Connection" I'd sure like to try such a game(show). How is it played? We don't get the program here but I hope it is one of those rare activities I can use in my distance-learning classes. My students see and hear me but I can only hear them when they "key-in" (like a CB radio). I teach to five different schools.

    Liebe Sandra & St. Valentiner!
    mit dem schönen mittelalterlichen Liebesgedicht kann man auch Sprachwandel illustrieren:

    ICH bin di[h]n/DU bist mi[h]n/
    Des sollt du gewiss si[h]n.--
    DU bist beslozzen in mi[h]nem herzen/
    Verloren ist das sluezzelin /
    DU musst immer drinne si[h]n.

    (die [h] sind nur zur Anzeige einer Dehnung des "i").

    Noch eins: Kennt Ihr die Melodie von "Twinkle, twinkle, little star..." Die lässt sich herrlich verwenden f&uum;r folgenden Text, der mit entsprechenden Handbewegungen paarweise (auch gruppenweise) gesungen wird: "Ich liebe dich und du liebst mich/ ich liebe dich und du liebst mich..." (bis Ende der Melodie wiederholen) "Er liebt sie und sie liebt ihn/ er liebt sie und sie liebt ihn..." "Wir lieben euch und ihr liebt uns........."

    ----Wenn das mit Melodie und Gestik (Zeigefinger) gemacht wird, bleibt die ganze Grammatik spielend im Gedächtnis, weil mehr dimensional gelernt. Love you all, Eb. Reichmann from old IU

    Here's a quick and easy Valentine's idea. My level 3 students enjoyed reading their "Valentines" to each other.

    I asked students to number 1-12 on a scratch sheet of paper. I didn't tell them why. I gave the following directions:

    1. Write a noun without indef./or def. article
    2. Write a verb (in the ich ___e form)
    3. write an adjective
    4. write a noun in the accusative form (with def./indef. article)
    write verb in infinitive form to be used as a noun (ex.: Schlafen)
    5. write 2 or more names (csan be a group of people also, ex: the Twins, the Packers, etc.)
    6. write the 2nd half of a dass clause (Ex.....,dass ich ins Kino gehe.)
    7. write an adjective
    8. write an adjective
    9. write an adjective
    10. Write a sentence using the future tense (ich werde...+ infinitive)
    11. write the 2nd half of a dass clause (Ex.....,dass ich ins Kino gehe.)
    12. write a noun

    Then, I gave each student a "Valentine" with the written text. Students were told to fill in what they wrote onto their "Valentine"

    1) Liebe_______ (or Lieber _______)
    Ich denke an dich oft, wenn ich (2)___ und ich fuehle mich ___ (3). Ich moechte (4) _____. (5) ____ sagen mir, dass (6) __________. Du bist (7) _________. Mit dir ist mein Leben (8)_____. Ohne dich ist mein Leben (9)________. (10)____, wenn du zurueckkommst. Ich hoffe, dass (11) ___.

    Dein(e) (12)_____

    Barb Johnson

    For those of you who asked, here are the topics for the Valentine's skits. The students worked in groups of 2 or 3 and used the vocab offered by members of this list.

    1. You are on a plane, preparing for a boring flight. Suddenly, you look up. The person of your dreams is heading directly for the empty seat next to you! Imagine the conversation:

    Option A:
    He/She is a celebrity (or YOU are a celebrity).

    Option B:
    As you both speak, a third person stands behind you and tells the class what you are both really thinking.

    2. Exams were stressful, and you did not have time to pay a lot of attention to your significant other. He/she calls to complain. Imagine the conversation:

    Option A
    You assure him/her of your undying devotion.

    Option B
    This is a great excuse to break up. Be kind.

    Option C
    You are outraged and let him/her know.

    3. You receive a love letter with a telephone number at the bottom. You decide to call. Imagine the conversation:

    Option A
    You ask two best friends to join you for support and advice during the conversation.

    Option B
    During the course of the conversation, you realize that you really don't like this person.

    Option C
    You dial the number and discover that you have reached the school's assistant principal/ your friend's parents/your local mail carrier, etc. Imagine the conversation when you meet the writer the next day at school!

    4. Although you have been sending love letters, the person whom you are in love with does not seem to be aware that you exist. To make matters worse, he/she regards you as a friend and asks you for advice. Imagine the conversation.

    5. While discussing the object of your devotion with a good friend, you discover that you are in love with the same person! Imagine the conversation:

    Option A
    The person you love is lurking nearby and overhears the entire = conversation.

    Option B
    The person you love is going out with someone else who is lurking nearby and overhears the entire conversation.

    Ruth P

    This year, I asked each student to create and decorate at least one small Valentine's heart with one of the expressions printed on it. I used the hearts as a border for one of the hallway bulletin boards. The remainder fill an entire wall in our classroom. When it was clear that we had too many hearts, I assigned one class the job of creating small banners. They were told to print out one of the longer expressions and provide an English translation in small print. These are now displayed above the chalkboards and on both sides of the door. The Spanish teacher who uses the room for two periods told me that her students were both intrigued and annoyed - they wanted to know why they couldn't do this also!

    Three of the more advanced classes also had to write fictional love letters in which they could include some of the expressions.
    Ruth P

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