By Ariana Manos
February brings countless reasons to celebrate: the new lunar year, free coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, Malone Singing Valentines and after Feb. 14, discounted boxes of chocolates.
Feb. 1 marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year. 2022 marks the year of “Ren Yin,” the water tiger, following the 12-year Chinese zodiac calendar. The stars opposite Jupiter, known as Tai Sui, determine which element (a combination of an earth element and Chinese zodiac animal) of the 60-year cycle will begin the new lunar year.
Acknowledging its increasing popularity in the U.S., Grace Meng, the NYC house representative, introduced a bill to include the Lunar New Year in the U.S. list of federally recognized public holidays. If the bill were to pass, observance wouldn’t be on a specific date, as usual festivities can span longer than two weeks.
February also signifies the season of love, housing Valentine’s Day. Malone offers their annual singing telegrams, sent with a flower and a personalized card, in celebration of the romantic holiday. Malone’s Chorale will deliver the valentines on February 14 starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m.
The singing valentines are offered to students, staff, family members and community members within 30 miles of Malone’s campus. Options for songs include “Love Me Tender,” “Friendship Song” and “Love Walked In.”
“It is always such a joy to get out into the community and spread love and joy to others,” Maxwell Digman, president of the Chorale and tenor section leader, said. Digman is a Chorale veteran, boasting membership in Malone’s Chorale for three and a half years.
“I always end up with a smile on my face,” said Digman. “I am looking forward to getting back into the community again! It has been a year without singing valentines and it truly has been missed.”
Last year’s COVID-19 protocols mandated the use of phone calls to send the singing telegrams, to keep alive the tradition that started more than a decade ago. In addition to in-person deliveries, the Chorale will be taking advantage of email to send even more valentines this season.
“We will have five groups of Chorale and Amplified students delivering singing valentines,” Dr. Marin Jacobson, the choir director, said. “They will be visiting classes to sing for a student or professor, visit staff offices and delivering singing valentines to people within 30 miles of campus. Chorale members will be creating many happy moments all day long and will have a lot of fun doing it.”
Chorale members have begun preparations early, putting together candies and getting a start on folding cards in anticipation of the upcoming event. Leadership is paramount to the success of the singing telegrams. Chorale members organize many of the smaller tasks, such as placing orders and determining a road map for event day deliveries, that allow the process to run smoothly.
“Another fun aspect is getting to hear stories about how others reacted to their Valentine,” Digman said. “My freshman year, our group went and delivered one to an older woman and when we got there, she was just so sweet and kind.”
Students that wish to get away from campus to celebrate can look forward to upcoming community events to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Over Valentine’s Day weekend, the Akron Zoo is hosting “Owl be Your Valentine.” The event is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12. Tickets cost $9 a person and include viewing exhibits holding guest-built enrichment items, making a souvenir valentine and listening to zookeepers.
On Valentine’s Day, Front Porch Cafe, a local coffee shop in Hartville, will have an open house from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with live music in observance of the holiday, located at 932 W Maple St.
“The Front Porch Cafe is a cute little restaurant with a homey atmosphere,” Cecilia Aguirre, freshman at the University of Akron, said. “It’s a comfortable place to sit down, relax, and spend time with your friends and family.
“Along with the cozy atmosphere, the business itself is also amazing, as it is a nonprofit that supports the developmentally disabled in the community by teaching them work skills for jobs,” Aguirre said. “On Valentine’s Day last year, there was live music, cello, piano, and singing. The music was a fantastic addition to the Valentine’s Day experience.”
Chain-store Dunkin’ Donuts is giving coffee-lovers another reason to celebrate the month of February. Their newest promotion gives members a free coffee every Wednesday through Feb. 16.
Membership is quick and easy to sign up for, simply done by making an account online or downloading their app on a mobile device. The nearest Dunkin’ location to campus is less than a mile away on Cleveland Ave.
Whether you’re staying in with friends or going out to celebrate, have a happy Valentine’s Day!