Prepare to feel a whole lot of love this weekend as Colombia readies to celebrate its iteration of Valentine’s Day – El Dia de Amor y Amistad.
Forget February 14 – Colombians choose to annually celebrate love and affection on the third Saturday of September.
But those without a significant other should not be alarmed as the holiday is a love affair which leaves no-one behind. Instead of only celebrating the relationship between couples, El Dia celebrates the bonds between friends as well.
The holiday can be seen as a hybrid between Valentine’s Day and World Friendship Day. The nation decided in 1969 to move Valentine’s Day from February to September and avoid the school season. It also came as a bonus that chocolates and flowers tended to sell better at that time of the year.
September is also one of the few months in Colombia without a special date: and thus the new holiday was born. Its title, which translates to Day of Love and Friendship, was aptly named as to not upset those without a partner.
This Saturday is a traditional date in which friends, lovers and spouses express their love. The methods of expression can vary, from dining out to love letters to flowers and poems, but one game is constant: secret friend.
The game secret friend – or amigo invisible – is a popular activity similar to what some may play during Christmas festivities. Names are put into a hat and drawn anonymously among friends, and the person one draws becomes their secret friend for the day to be showered with gifts. Cute, right?
Whatever you end up doing to celebrate El Dia de Amor y Amistad this Saturday, may it be filled with the love of friends, family and perhaps that special someone.