El Dia del Amor y La Amistad
Your guide to the popular celebration of love & romance in Colombia
September is fast approaching and here in Colombia every man of romance knows what this means. Yes gentleman, and fellow expats in Colombia, it’s that time of year again. It’s time to stock up on chocolates, roses and the sort of cheap perfume that smells like it came from a chemical weapons factory - as we prepare for the popular celebration of the ever more tacky El Dia Del Amor y La Amistad - the Colombian version of St.Valentine’s Day.
In Colombia, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated on February 14th, as is the tradition around most of the western world. In Colombia, the day to celebrate love, romance and finding out your girlfriend has a sideman, is known as ‘The Day of Love and Friendship’ - El Dia Del Amor y La Amistad.
Celebrated annually on the third Saturday in September, in 2022, El Dia del Amor y La Amistad falls on Saturday 17th of September. So fellas, make sure you’ve got the date marked down in your calendar because Colombian women absolutely love to be spoiled and treated on these dates. No matter what you think of it, make sure you take your beautiful Colombiana out on the town if you don’t want her to think of you as ‘un tacaño’ - a cheapskate.
The reason for the discrepancy of date for this day with the rest of the world is not actually anything historically significant, or particularly interesting. Colombia simply changed the date of this annual celebration in the late 60’s to allow merchants to sell more roses and cheap chocolates in September - one of the rare months in the Colombian calendar where there doesn’t fall a public holiday. There are a few other Latin American countries that celebrate their version of Valentine’s Day on different dates too - such as June 12th in Brazil and July 23rd in Bolivia - but most of the world still holds to the traditional date of February 14th - The Catholic Feast Day of St.Valentine.
The modern Valentine’s Day around the world and El Dia del Amor y La Amistad here in Colombia, are celebrations that generally offer little significance to the two Catholic Saint Valentines that appear in Church records as having been martyred on February 14th. According to Jimmy Akin from Catholic Answers, one St.Valentine was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Emperor Claudius, and the other a 3rd century Bishop who was martyred in Rome. Although some claim there was some confusion and the two Catholic martyrs are actually the same person. Nevertheless, neither had any connection to love or romance, and it is thought that the modern association of love with the Feast of St.Valentine comes from a belief that birds tend to mate on this date. Whatever the reason may be however, the commercialization of El Dia del Amor y La Amistad mimics closely that of Valentine’s Day back home, and clearly has nothing to do with the Catholic Saints that share their names with the celebration.
In Colombia, the day to celebrate love, romance and finding out your girlfriend has a sideman, is known as ‘The Day of Love and Friendship’ - El Dia Del Amor y La Amistad.
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As a country where every woman loves ‘Un hombre detallista’ - a man who knows how to spoil his lady - in the weeks leading up to El Dia del Amor y La Amistad, you can expect tacky heart-shaped balloons, truck loads of chocolates, roses and cuddly bears to start springing up for sale all over the place. Colombians love to celebrate this day of the year, and if you’re a guy married to or dating a Colombian woman, then you had better be prepared to go to town and shower your lady with love, surprises and treats on this day, because guaranteed that’s what she’s expecting.
El Dia del Amor y La Amistad is a super popular day for couples and friends to go out for a meal, drink, dance or go to the movies. So expect restaurants, bars and shopping malls to all be absolutely packed on this third Saturday in September. If you’re looking to take your better half out to celebrate, it’s highly recommended to book a table in advance. Most restaurants offer romantic table decorations for this date also, and you will be required to pay for this in advance by making a bank transfer to the restaurant’s bank account and then sending the ‘comprobante’ - the payment confirmation - to the restaurant. This is standard practice. My fiance and I love going out to restaurants and this day is another great reason to go out and try some of the amazing food that can be found in Colombia.
Despite the hyper commercialization of El Dia del Amor y La Amistad, it is still a great opportunity to take your lady friend out on a fun date and treat her to something a bit special, so don’t be shy my fellow expats in Colombia! If you’re lucky enough to have a wonderful Colombian woman by your side, this is the time to make sure she knows how much she means to you.
Have fun, stay safe and God bless you.
Saint Valentine of Rome, Pray for us.