As this Sunday is that oh-so-romantic day “El DIa de Amor y Amistad” in Colombia, I thought it was worth bringing this one out of the archives. Maybe you’ll be inspired and be taken away by the romance of it all, maybe you’ll moan and groan about the artificial and commercial nature of the celebration and refuse to take part or even acknowledge it. Perhaps we’re just hopeless romantics here at See Colombia Travel, but what’s wrong with everyone getting loved-up and buying each other flowers, cooking extravagant meals and ‘doing something nice’ every now and again? Because mushy, corny, cheesy and, some might say, downright over-the-top displays of affection aren’t frowned upon here in Colombia the same way they might be in the UK. In fact, they are almost encouraged…
Sure, you’ll all be familiar with Valentine’s Day. In Colombia it’s no different, except that when we’re all celebrating on February 14th, those crazy Colombianos will only be doing something special if they happen to have bagged themselves a foreign partner.
Valentine’s Day in Colombia, or as it should be known, Amor Y Amistad, is celebrated on the 3rd weekend of September and is approached with a similar fervour as the Colombians approach Halloween and Christmas, which is, to say the very least, whole-heartedly. Get ready with the wine, the flowers and while you’re at it why not learn some Carlos Vives songs, just for extra points?
For the entire weekend, and the weeks before, hearts adorn the bars, restaurants, shops and even houses you visit in honour of Amor Y Amistad. It’s not unusual for places to hold special promotions, such as women drinking free (good for all you chicas out there), or two-for-one meals. All in all, it’s pretty difficult to escape the celebration, and just as well because the Latin Americans have done it right. Unlike in the UK where people have largely turned against Valentine’s Day except for as an excuse to go out for a quick meal and maybe send a card, Colombians celebrate a great deal since, as those of you familiar with Spanish will be aware, Amor Y Amistad means love and friendship, meaning no lonely hearts peering through restaurant windows longingly.
Nope, instead it’s all about toasting to your friends with a shot of aguardiente, a bottle of beer and a nice ‘parcero’. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have had a marriage in Colombia, or have a Colombian girl or boy on your arm, that’s great. But it’s not the be all and end all if you don’t.
So maybe next Valentine’s Day, instead of coupling off, why don’t we in the UK take a heads up from those lovely Latinos and celebrate Valentine’s Day together? With everyone.