Today, September 17, 2016, is “Valentine’s Day” in Colombia – el Día del Amor y la Amistad! Contrary to when we celebrate in the United States, Colombians celebrate their love and friendship for one another the third Saturday of September.
Why the difference? Well, in 1969, the retail community in Colombia decided to make the change since February is when they have their back-to-school specials (the academic year for most schools is February to November). They chose September because there really were no other holidays then, and they thought that chocolates, roses, and wine would do well at that time of year.
Apart from the date, the day is celebrated very much like our Valentine’s Day with gifts and cards for loved ones. Friendship plays a large part of the Colombian tradition and it’s customary to have a “secret pal.” Friends draw names and give their amigo secreto gifts, notes, and poems. It’s a fun way to celebrate this special day.
If you’d like to extend your appreciation for your special Valentine, add el Día del Amor y la Amistad to your Valentine Day’s celebrations. Oh, and while you’re at it, throw in the International Day of Friendship day on July 30th!