This past Saturday was the official celebration of “El Día de Amor y Amistad.” “El Día de Amor y Amistad” is a Colombian holiday that officially occurs annually on the 3rd Saturday of September, although many people have decided to celebrate this holiday according to their pay date. This year, for instance, many people celebrated “el Día de Amor y Amistad” on the second Saturday of September, the 14th as many people received their paycheck that weekend.
(E-card for “El Día del Amor y Amistad,” source: http://www.tarjetaszea.com)
Regardless of when the holiday is celebrated, it is a celebration of not only love, but also friendship. While the internationally celebrated Valentine’s Day puts the spotlight on couples, romantic love, and celebrating life with your spouse or partner, “El Día de Amor y Amistad” is much more of a holistic celebration of love in all sorts of relationships.
Having celebrated various “Días de Amor y Amistad” in Colombia, I’ve observed a few traditions:
- A game of “amigo secreto” (secret pal): Any good Colombian will be involved in some sort of secret pal game, whether it’s with a group of co-workers, a group of friends, or a group of fellow classmates. Normally, names are written on papers, and each person in the group chooses the name of a person they will be responsible for being a gift for. There is also, normally, a limit put on the cost of the gift to make sure everyone spends the same amount. Some secret pals will endulzar or “sweeten” the person they’ve drawn by sending them sweet messages, actual sweets and candies, and peforming other “sweet” acts during the week leading up to “El Día de Amor y Amistad.”
- Gifts between couples: While “El Día de Amor y Amistad” does celebrate both platonic and romantic love(s), most girls (and maybe guys) will be expecting a little something special from their significant other. While some Colombians celebrate Valentine’s Day, others prefer to celebrate their romantic love on “El Día de Amor y Amistad” and create similar plans to those one would have on Valentine’s Day in the United States or United Kingdom.
- Dinners or get togethers with close friends: Many Colombians, instead of making solitary plans with their significant other, will have parties with their friends where secret pal gifts are exchanged. These plans may include eating out together somewhere or dinner at someone’s house. One thing is for sure, though, if you plan to eat out, you’ll need to make a reservation WELL in advance as most decent restaurants are fully-reserved as early as 2 weeks before “El Día de Amor y Amistad.”
(A romantic E-card for “El Día de Amor y Amistad,” source: http://www.tarjetaszea.com)
While it is a little weird to celebrate this holiday in September (I will always associate hearts, flowers, and lovey doveyness with February), it is fun to take time out and celebrate the many loving relationships I have, both with my close friends as well as my spouse. And, hey, everyone could do with a little more love-celebration in their life, right?
Con mucho amor,