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Valentine’s Day is one of the few holidays that’s celebrated in countries around the world, so it can be a lot of fun to learn how other Valentine’s Day celebrations differ from ours. While Europe and the U.S. traditionally view the holiday as mainly about romantic love between couples, many Latin and Hispanic cultures think of the day a little differently. Here are some of the fun and unique traditions observed across Spain and Latin America:
Oh, So Many Names
In Hispanic and Latin countries, Valentine’s Day is referred to by a variety of different names. Here are some of the more popular ones:
- El Día de San Valentin is the most similar to Valentine’s Day, translating to “the Day of Saint Valentine.” Several countries, including Puerto Rico and Mexico, use this name for the holiday.
- In many countries, including Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Colombia, the holiday is known as Día del Amor y la Amistad. This literally translates to “the Day of Love and Friendship,” and is viewed as a day to show love and affection to your friends and family members as well as your romantic partners.
- In some South American countries, such as Argentina and Chile, Valentine’s Day is referred to as Día de Los Enamorados, which means “Day of the Lovers” in English.
- Some Guatemalans refer to Valentine’s Day as Día del Cariño, or “Day of Affection” in English. Guatemalans celebrate every kind of love on this day, including the affection between friends, family and couples.
- A sillier name for the holiday comes from Spain, where some people refer to the day as Día del Corte Inglés. Corte Inglés is one of the most popular department stores in the country, so the name pokes fun at what some people in America call “the Hallmark holiday.”
Fun Valentine’s Day Traditions
There are also some fun and unique traditions observed in many countries to commemorate this loving holiday. In Peru, for instance, people give each other orchids! Not only are orchids native to many parts of Latin America, but they also symbolize deep love, making them a perfect way to celebrate the holiday! Get into the Peruvian spirit by sending your love Teleflora’s Divine Orchid this year rather than traditional roses.
Roses and lilies are among the other common flowers used to celebrate Valentine’s Day across Latin America and Spain, and they’re very popular romantic flowers in the U.S. as well. Teleflora’s Be My Love Bouquet combines red roses and white lilies for a beautiful Valentine’s Day arrangement!
In many countries, such as the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, children play a game called Angelito to celebrate the holiday. Similar to our Secret Santa, Angelito is played by randomly picking names and getting your chosen friend a gift! Some people also refer to the game as Amigo Secreto, meaning “secret friend.”
In Guatemala many people celebrate El Día del Cariño by joining in a huge senior citizen’s parade in the country’s capital city. The parade is full of people decked out in colorful clothing and masks!
The Several Valentine’s Days of the Year
Not only do Hispanic and Latin cultures have many different names for Valentine’s Day, several countries celebrate it on a completely different day of the year!
In Catalonia, Spain, natives celebrate Diada de Sant Jordi or “St. George’s Day.” Also called the Day of Lovers, the holiday is celebrated on April 23 to honor St. George, the patron saint of Catalonia. While the globally traditional red roses are one way they celebrate St. George’s Day, couples also give each other books to show their love.
Colombians celebrate Valentine’s Day on Sept. 20, often by giving gifts as secret admirers.
Bolivia celebrates the holiday a day later, and there are other countries that observe their version of Valentine’s Day in June and October!