This weekend saw St Valentine’s Day being celebrated in many countries around the world. It’s a day which in most countries today
is associated with romantic love. This is also true in Spain, but it’s not just lovers who celebrate and give tokens of their affection on 14th February.
The feast day of Saint Valentine, San Valentin, is called El Día del Amor y la Amistad in Spanish – the day of love and friendship. Just as in the UK, tokens of affection such as cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts are exchanged, but these are not simply amorous gestures; they also extend to celebrate the spirit of love between friends.
Just as many people in the UK bemoan the commercialised nature of St Valentine’s Day, so in Spain a similar school of thought exists and those who like to poke fun at the ‘celebrations’ refer to it as El Día de El Corte Inglés, the Day of Corte Inglés – Spain’s largest department store. Non-cynics, however, celebrate unreservedly, donning traditional costumes, enjoying candlelit dinners with partners or other outings with friends, dancing and exchanging their love-themed gifts.
St Valentine’s Day celebrations in Spain are well worth experiencing at least once, but if you’ve missed 14th February, you may not have missed out altogether for this year. Some regions have their own special celebrations: in Catalonia love is celebrated on St George’s Day where it is called El Día de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose) or El Día del Libro (The Day of the Book), and in Valencia the most romantic day is 9th October, the feast day of Saint Dionysius, the local patron saint of lovers. If you are preparing for a trip or a move to Spain and need a Spanish teacher in London, get in touch.