Tag Archives: valentines

“Happy Valentines” by Outkast

Originally from Florida, this friend of mine grew up around a wide range of cultures and traditions. Raised by Haitian and Colombian immigrants, she speaks Haitian-Creole, French, English, and a little bit of Spanish. We share a love of food, and spend a lot of time talking about food and different recipes and whatnot, so when this project came down the pipeline, I knew I had to ask her about some unique, family recipes.

The following was recorded during a group interview with 4 other of our friends in the common area of a 6-person USC Village apartment.

“And then Valentine’s Day, we have a little dinner too. She always plays “Happy Valentines” by Outkast in the mornings. That’s how she wakes us up. Like, the phone in our ear. It’s really upsetting. But you can’t get upset, because she’s smiling. And she’s playing the song. She’s the only morning person in the house. I can’t go back to sleep so just put it back in my ear with this big smile.”

This really highlights the overlap between authored work and folklore in that a recorded song has become a part of a folk tradition for a household in America. I’m sure if other lovers of Outkast heard about this tradition and did not already do it, they’d pick it up and start practicing it themselves. It really goes to show that culture is all about mixing and matching your favorite parts of the world to create something new and unique. The best way to enjoy folklore is to simply do whatever makes you happy.

Valentines Day

While she was at school, my informant partook in a Valentine’s Day activity wherein each child in the class makes Valentine’s cards for everyone, and then makes a box and decorates the box.  Children then go around and put their cards in everyone else’s box.  She said that she was not very good at arts and crafts as a young child and so she thought her box was terrible and plain compared to everyone else’s.  According to my informant, the other children’s boxes had dancers and straws and ballerinas and other fancy figures on the side of the box, and she felt very embarrassed about the state of her box.  Later in life, she said she realized that the other children had fancy boxes because their parent’s helped to make them.

When I was in elementary school, we too participated in the ritual of exchanging Valentine’s day cards.  We made our own box, but we usually just went out and bought a set of Valentine’s day cards at the store, which came in packs of 16 or 20.  Also it was tradition to tape a small portion of candy onto your Valentine’s cards.  Cards were given to every student regardless of the gender of the giver or the recipient.  For us, Valentine’s day was less about the making of boxes and more about getting free candy.