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Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

by CaptainCode

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February 14th, 2014

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dia-de-los-enamorados-02Happy Valentine’s Day! While we all know that love is all around and it’s certainly universal, did you ever wonder how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in other parts of the world? Is it the same commercialized blend of red roses, hearts and chocolate (not that we don’t enjoy it) as it is in our part of the planet? And, since we’re at it, what was the origin of the holiday before it became as mass marketed as it is today?

The Origin of  Valentine’s Day

There is a number of legends of how the holiday began. According to the most popular ones, Valentine’s Day is traced back to the Ancient Rome at the times of Emperor Claudius II.

Claudius made a bold decision to ban marriage, claiming that single men made better soldiers. However, a priest named Valentine continued to secretly marry couples, and eventually was imprisoned for disobeying the emperor. In jail, Valentine, being a hopeless romantic, fell in love with a young girl who regularly came to visit him. Right before he died, the priest wrote her a love letter, which is believed to be the first ever Valentine.

Valentine’s Day in Latin America

Over the centuries, the holiday has grown into a huge business in the United States and Europe, but seems to be a little more so in Latin America. In many countries, it seems to be more of an excuse to share love and friendship than candy and cards. It is even referred to as “Día del Amor y la Amistad” (Day of Love and Friendship) in many countries, including Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. It is common to see people perform “acts of appreciation” for their friends. In Guatemala this tradition is known as the “Día del Cariño” (Affection Day). In Brazil (yes, we know they speak Portuguese there, but still), the Dia dos Namorados (lit. “Lovers’ Day”, or “Boyfriends’/Girlfriends’ Day”) is celebrated on June 12, probably because that is the day before Saint Anthony’s day, known there as the marriage saint, when traditionally many single women perform popular rituals, called simpatias, in order to find a good husband or boyfriend.

More Traditions From Different Countries

In Mexico, February 14th is celebrated as the “Día de San Valentin but is more commonly referred to as El Día del Amor y la Amistad, the day of love and friendship. While people also commonly give flowers, candies and balloons to their romantic partners, it is also a day to show appreciation for your friends. It is a time for people to show appreciation to the people they care about in general.

In Peru, locals celebrate by giving out orchids, native to the country, to each other. Carnaval is going on at the same time so it is considered a public holiday, and many celebrate with mass weddings to be able to accommodate large groups of couples.

Argentina & Chile refer to the day as El Día de Los Enamorados. There is more of an emphasis on spoiling your significant other with gifts compared to other Latin American countries. Colombia and Bolivia celebrate Valentine’s Day on September 20-21, when it popular to send gifts from secret admirers.“ Dominican Republic & El Salvador have a similar tradition when a game called Angelito or Amigo Secreto is played. Girls and boys rip a piece of paper, write someone’s name, and then proceed to give their angelito a gift. That’s a very cute Secret Santa variation, isn’t it?

Happy Valentine’s Day Amigos!

by CaptainCode

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January 8th, 2014

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Rosca de Reyes

Rosca de Reyes

Think the Holiday Season is over? For many of us, it may be. Yet, in the Spanish culture, January is also filled with holidays and traditions – festive gatherings and food included, with the Christmas season being officially over on February 2!

The main holiday in January is El Dia De Los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings’ Day, or the Epiphany), celebrated on January 6. Spain, as well as most Latin American countries, don’t celebrate December 25 as the day children receive their Christmas gifts. Instead, children get their presents on January 6, El Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings’ Day). This day commemorates the wise men coming to see baby Jesus, bringing the gifts of gold.

On this day, children put shoe boxes stuffed with grass for the king’s camels, under their beds. The next morning, the grass is gone, replaced by a gift left by the three kings. And like Christmas, charcoal is left for children who have been naughty.

For this holiday, a traditional feast is prepared. In Mexico, all bakeries offer the Rosca de Reyes, an oval wreath-shaped sweetbread, decorated with candied fruit. This tradition was brought by the Spaniards centuries ago.A plastic figurine of the Baby Jesus is hidden inside the Rosca. Hiding the baby symbolizes the need to find a secure place where Jesus could be born, a place where King Herod would not find Him.

During the family gathering, everyone cuts a slice of the Rosca. The knife symbolizes the danger in which the Baby Jesus was in. The guest who gets the baby figurine becomes the hostof the next celebration, Candelaria or Candle mass day on February 2. That day marks the end of the Christmas season in Latin America. This is when the nativity scene is put away. The holiday would not be complete without the traditional family gathering and dinner of tamales and hot chocolate.

Although not so widely, Feast of San Antonio Abad to honor animals and Feast of San Sebastian are also celebrated in January. Now, what’s your favorite Spanish or Latin American holiday? Don’t forget to visit Elefloor for Asian real estate offers, including stunning properties for sale and rent in Thailand.


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