Dia de amor y amistad

Dia de amor y amistad

What is Love and Friendship Day in Colombia?

In a nutshell Love and Friendship Day (Dia de amor y amistad) is just another St. Valentine’s Day and it is celebrated on September 20.

Who was Saint Valentine?

Legend has it that Saint Valentine was a Roman priest who was beaten then beheaded by Roman Emperor Claudius II for defying the mandated rule of prohibiting soldiers from marrying.  According to legend he was martyred on February 14th. Very little is known about this Valentine character.  The feast of St. Valentine of February 14 was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among all those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” As Gelasius implies, nothing was then known about his life.

Catholic church records address three other Saint Valentines related with the February 14th date.  One was a Roman priest, another the bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) both buried along the Via Flaminia on the outskirts of Rome, at different distances from the city. The third was said to be a saint who suffered on the same day with a number of companions in the Roman province of Africa, for whom nothing else is known.

So not much is known about the actual person, but we do know that Saint Valentine is the patron saint of affianced couples (fiances), against fainting, bee keepers, happy marriages, love, plague, and epilepsy.  Obviously we focus on love.

Why is Love and Friendship Day (Valentine’s Day Part 2) Celebrated in September?

It is said that Love and Friendship Day was created in Colombia 1969 to boost the economy.  Colombia has many holidays throughout the year.  Colombian’s usually travel outside of their city to small towns, shop, spend time with family, etc. on holidays.  This helps the economy, but in September there are no holidays, thus we have Love and Friendship Day on September 20.

The celebration date was created for money, so what?  Colombian’s are loving, kind, and generous people, only a bitter, loveless grouch would complain about a day where you celebrate love and friendship.

What to do on Love and Friendship Day (Dia del amor y amistad). UPDATED 09/15/16

I’ve lived here in Medellin for over 5 years now and have been through Love and Friendship Day enough to know what is customary. In the U.S. we usually reserve Valentine’s Day for romance. I mean, yeah, when I was kid I got chocolates and candy from my mom, and at school we passed out Valentine’s Day cards.  But as an adult it is usually regarded as a romantic holiday. Here in Medellin, and perhaps all of Colombia, Love and Friendship Day is great because it is for everyone.

You do not have to be in a relationship to celebrate this day.  I’ve had groups of friends over for drinks and dinner, and maybe a game of Parqués.  Since it lands on a Saturday, going out to a disco or a bar is acceptable.

My favorite thing about Love and Friendship Day in Medellin is playing “amigo secreto,” secret friend, and the “endulzadas.”  Amigo secreto is pretty easy to understand.  You put all of your friend’s or coworker’s names in a hat and you take turns drawing names.  The name that you draw…that’s your secret friend and on September 20th, in front of everyone, you must reveal your secret friend and give him/her a gift.

What is an endulzada?  This is an addition to the secret friend game.    Basically the verb endulzar means to sweeten, but in context it means to spoil someone with candy.  So every day leading up to September 20 you have to bring a wrapped candy, usually in a black bag, to the person in charge of handing out the gifts.  You designate a neutral spot to place the “endulzadas” so as to not spoil the secret.

Flower arrangements are inexpensive in Medellin.

Flower arrangements are inexpensive in Medellin.

What to buy/do for Love and Friendship Day.

I usually buy my female friends candy, chocolates, and if they are really special, flowers. All of this is very inexpensive. There are a ton of candy stores around downtown that sell candy at discounted prices, they make a killing on this day.  Also, flowers, I cannot believe how cheap flowers are here,  I can get a bouquet of 24 roses for 8,000 pesos at La Placita de las Flores, it’s awesome.  I am not saying that I get all my female friends roses, just the special ones.

On the occasions where I’ve drawn a guy as my secret friend, chocolate bars and candy is acceptable, but for me, a bit too weird. I always opt to get them something else, like a watch, a key-chain, or a t-shirt.

Let’s get back to the women though.  If you’re going to invite a girl out to a restaurant make sure to call and ask for a reservation; this day is usually busy, especially at good restaurants around the city.  Some places do not take reservations, so you must get there earlier.  Do not expect your date to get there early, you will probably have to get there alone to hold the table.

Have a plan! Do not just wing it.  Most girls like it when a guy has a plan.  It shows that you really thought about the day and that she is special.  Dinner and dancing is a big hit in Medellin.  I usually do dinner, cocktails (at one of my favorite 2 for 1 cocktail places in Parque Lleras), and then dancing. Love and Friendship Day does not have to be limited to just one day out of the year.  Like I said before, flowers, chocolate, and candy are so inexpensive here that you can do this at least once a month.

Here are some of my favorite places to take a date:

Halong Vietnamita – I really love this place. The Pho is good enough, but what’s awesome about it is the location/atmosphere. The whole restaurant is outdoors and they have a full bar. Their house vodka drink is great and you should definitely have the slow cooked ribs.

Cafe Zorba – This place is an all vegetarian pizza place. The atmosphere is great, sometimes will have live music and prices are not so high considering that it’s located in El Poblado.

San Carbon – Great steak and good wine. The do have cocktails and other options other than steak, but it’s a steak house so you might as well get the good stuff.

El Graspo De Uva – This place is one of my favorite pizza/Italian food spots in Medellin. They have a brick oven and bake a mean pie. The place is small so make a reservation.

El Museo Castillo Medellin – This is a very romantic place and this year they’re doing a picnic for $40,000 per person.

What are you gonna do for Love and Friendship Day?

I love to get ideas, let me know what your plans are in the comments below.  Don’t be shy, let us know what you’re plans are.

About the writer – Andrew Macia

Andrew Macia ArrieroHello, my name is Andrew Macia and I am the founder of the Medellin Buzz.  I am an advanced level English teacher here in Medellin, and I also have a website development, and marketing company which I run from home.

My idea with the Medellin Buzz is to push those who are learning English and to integrate native speakers with non-native speakers.

I love living in Medellin and I love Colombia.  I want to give back to the community and this is the best way I know how.  Let’s practice English and Spanish and have a great time!

About the Medellin Buzz

The Medellin Buzz is lighthearted news source for English as a Second Language learners in Medellin, Colombia.  The Medellin Buzz is written in a way that is easy to understand.