There is no denying that Valentine’s Day splits opinion with people either counting down the days until February 14th or preparing themselves to cringe at the back to back romantic movie marathons. In Latin America Valentine’s Day does not just serve as a day to show your affection for your partner or significant other and it has become a more inclusive occasion where people share it with their friends too. So whether you’re traveling to Central America or South America with friends, family or just you and your partner; the romance of its destinations is bound to sweep you off your feet!
In Argentina, the country of tango, passion, wine and red meat, ‘Día de los Enamorados’ (Valentine’s Day) is a lower-key affair than in the United States and the United Kingdom. It’s not uncommon to see couples celebrating the romantic day in local restaurants and bars whilst of course showing their Argentine passion with an extra-long public display of affection. However, this is not the only day of the year dedicated to showing love and affection. Argentineans also celebrate ‘Semana de la Dulzura’ (Sweetness Week) from the 1st – 7th July and unsurprisingly, the day was invented by the largest Argentinean sweet manufacturer, Arcor, and the Association of Candy Distributors. With its roots buried in a marketing campaign, the day has become a full week where Argentineans exchange candies for a kiss with one another, just one of the many ice-breakers you may discover when getting to know Argentineans!
There is no doubting that Bolivia has plenty of love to go around as not just one but two days are dedicated to love and friendship with neither actually taking place in February. The first ‘Día del Amor y la Amistad’ (Day of Love & Friendship) takes place on July 23rd during Bolivia’s often cold winter. Perhaps to help Bolivians get rid of their winter blues or even a second chance at love, the second, ‘Día del Amor’ is on September 21st and is in conjunction with Students’ Day, the Day of Spring and Children’s Day. The days are celebrated with the traditional exchange of cookies, candies and flowers, just in case you were looking for some tips on what to buy!
With the samba rhythm, bright costumes and caipirinhas galore, Brazil’s calendar in February is taken up with the famous and not-to-be-missed Carnival celebration. The Brazilians therefore disregard the traditional date of February 14th and instead on June 12th, celebrate ‘Dia dos Namorados’ in honor of Saint Anthony, the saint of marriage and matchmaking. Brazilians usually celebrate the day with a romantic meal, exchanging gifts and ending the night swinging their hips to the samba beat.
Traditionally, single Brazilian women will perform a ritual called ‘simpatias’ in order to help them decide on a boyfriend or husband. Writing the names of the possible eligible bachelors on pieces of paper, they fold them up the night before Día dos Namorados. The following morning, they will choose one at random and open it to determine which one man they should pursue for marriage…we wonder how many of the women re-fold their first choice before picking another one!
It’s easy to fall in love with Guatemala as whether admiring the picture-perfect scenery of Lake Atitlan or encountering the Mayas at Tikal, this Central American country may become your first true love! The Guatemalans celebrate ‘Día del Cariño’ (Day of Affection) on February 14th and consists of exchanging flowers, chocolates and cards similar to the celebrations in the United States. However, the Guatemalans, widen the reach of gift-giving to include their friends and colleagues as well as their loved ones, making the day more inclusive than the usual slightly in your face Valentine’s Day celebrations.
From the stunning landscapes of Peru and the diverse species of flowers, Peru is perhaps the unsung hero of romance in South America. Instead of exchanging roses, Peruvians share elegant and native orchids with one another which aren’t only gorgeous flowers but with over 3000 species of orchid in Peru, you will be spoilt for choice! It is said that only 50% of Peru’s orchids have been discovered, so if you find yourself being given one of these treasured new discoveries, make sure to look after it! Unlike their Brazilian neighbors, the loving Peruvians wouldn’t dream of postponing Valentine’s Day for Carnival so instead they celebrate both Carnival and Valentine’s Day making for quite the celebration of love and happiness!
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