Valentine’s Day in Mexico

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Mexico celebrates Valentine’s Day, El Dia del Amor y la Amistad on February 14. 

Warm, festive and generous, this is how most foreigners who’ve had the opportunity to live for a while among us, define Mexicans and the Mexican culture. They say that not only are we known for displaying our willingness to show affection, but also the need for feeling pampered by those closest to us.

Maybe that’s why we’ve embraced Valentine’s Day with such enthusiasm every February 14th, a date that many consider somewhat commercial, but one that we’ve enriched with our traditions as well as an original idea or two about how to show our love for someone, here in Mexico.

It’s true that celebrating this date has no connection with our history, but then again; love is a cause for celebration for all human beings and civilizations. And just as the Greeks and the Romans had deities that represented this feeling in all its various shades; so the Mexica, the ancient civilization that inhabited Mexican soil, had a divinity that personified Love. Well, actually, there were two: Xochipilli and Xochiquetzal.

Xochipilli was like the Apollo of the Mexica. Also known as Macuilxochitl, he was the god of Love, games, beauty, dance, flowers, corn and songs. His name meant ‘prince of the flowers’ and he had a twin sister or wife; Xochiquetzal, which means precious flower or ornate bird. She was associated with the fertility of nature. Centeotl, the god of corn was their son.

In honor of the two gods, four days of fasting was observed. They sacrificed by inserting maguey thorns into their tongues and made offerings of bread and corn. They also danced to the beat of drums called teponaztli.

However, none of this is taken as a reference for celebrating Valentine’s Day in Mexico.  This festival is a European contribution and there are various versions as to its origin.

One of them says that in the Nordic countries of Finland, Norway, Denmark and Ireland, February is the month when little birds “match” and mate. Another says that it’s a Roman feast that became Christian. This festival was dedicated to Cupidthe god of Love, to whom offerings were made to ask for the ideal love.

However, the most widespread and romantic version says that in third century Rome, when Catholics were persecuted and soldiers were forbidden to marry because it was believed that single men performed better in battle, a priestnamed Valentine was inspired to marry couples in secret.

Emperor Claudius II found out about this priest, and although at first he was drawn to the Catholic faith; he eventually sentenced him to death. When the time to die approached, the priest gave classes to Julia, his jailer’s daughter. He also fell in love with her.

On the day of his execution, he wrote her a message and signed, ‘From your Valentine‘. Hence, many postcards printed on that date carry this dedication.

By late January, the shops and restaurants are decorated with hearts, Cupid figurines, balloons and ribbons. On the streets and tourist sites, it’s common to see ballooners, with their colorful cargo and shopping malls crammed with suggestions for gifts, ranging anywhere from a simple card to the classic stuffed animals and chocolates, jewelry, perfumes, cell phones and even underwear!

Give love…don’t buy it!”says an old TV commercial that remains in the popular wisdom of Mexicans. But the phrase is lost among so many beautiful things that there are to give away.

Valentine’s Spanish Word List

Valentine’s  most popular Spanish words:

Amiga (o): Friend

Amistad: Friendship

Amor: Love

Amorcito: Sweetheart

Anillo de compromiso: Engagement ring

Argollas Matrimoniales: Wedding rings

Boda: Wedding

Cita: Date

Corazón: Heart

Cupido: Cupid

Día de San Valentin: Valentine’s Day

Día del Amor y la Amistad : Valentine’s Day

Declararse: Ask to go steady

Enamorado (a) : In love

Flores: Flowers

Luna de Miel: Honeymoon

Madrina: Maid of Honor

Matrimonio: Matrimony

Novia: Girlfriend or Bride

Novio: Boyfriend or Groom

Padrino: Best man

Pages or Page Boys: Pajes, Pajesitos

Ramo:Bouquet

Regalo:Gift

Romance: Romance

Amorcito Corazón Song Listen to this song

Amorcito Corazon (My Darling Sweetheart) is a classic Mexican love song written by Pedro de Urdimalas.

https://youtu.be/ST0ceoPeV1Y

Read the lyrics of this song in English and Spanish clicking here

Grandes Romances Mexicanos

El 14 de Febrero en México y muchos otros países se celebra  el Día  del Amor y la Amistad pero tal vez sea en Mexico en donde se festeja con mas fervor y tradición. Probablemente sea esta fecha en la que mas serenatas se lleven y mas chocolates y globos se regalen.  Y es que los Mexicanos somos un pueblo romántico.

En nuestro pasado existen innumerables historias de amor vividas por algunos de los personajes históricos mas importantes del país.

 

Tal vez la relación mas conocida de la época de la conquista es aquella entre el conquistador Hernán Cortés y la joven indígena Nahua Malintzin.   La joven fue entregada a Cortes junto con otras jóvenes esclavas como regalo de los Señores de Tabasco.

Inmediatamente Malintzin sobresalió por su inteligencia y habilidad para servir de interprete.  Al poco tiempo se convirtió en una ayuda indispensable para Cortés así como su amante. Ella  adoptó  la religión Católica y cambió su nombre a Marina.   

Marina y Hernán Cortés tuvieron un hijo al que llamaron Martín Cortés.

 

Don Benito Juarez, presidente de México y Benemérito de las Americas, conoció a la que sería su esposa Margarita Maza cuando él trabajaba como mozo en la casa de ésta.

Cuando se casaron en 1843 él ya  fungía como Juez de Primera Instancia del ramo civil en Oaxaca. Don Benito era 20 años mayor que su joven esposa. Tuvieron 12 hijos de los que sobrevivieron siete.

La vida matrimonial para Margarita fue muy difícil ya que por un largo periodo, durante la guerra tuvo que vivir lejos de su esposo en el exilio y con sus 7 hijos. Durante esta etapa murieron sus dos hijos menores.

A pesar de las vicisitudes Don Benito y Margarita siempre se quisieron y apoyaron. Margarita murió a los 44 años lo cual lleno de tristeza hasta sus últimos días al Benemérito de las Americas.

 

Y cómo no mencionar el romance del cual nació nuestro Himno Nacional. Francisco Gonzalez Bocanegra y Guadalupe Gonzalez del Pino son los protagonistas de este gran amor.   El problema de este amor  era que Guadalupe y Francisco eran primos. Escondieron su relación durante 8 años hasta que decidieron casarse. Cómo dicen los cuentos infantiles, fueron muy felices.

 

En  1853 el Presidente Lopez de Santa Ana convocó a un concurso para escribir la letra del Himno Nacional Mexicano.

Francisco era un talentoso y reconocido poeta pero no estaba particularmente interesado en escribir la letra, así es que Guadalupe decidió encerrarlo en una habitación donde le tenía ya preparado papel y tinta.   El resultado fue un vibrante poema a la patria que hoy en día nos sigue representando.

 

La historia de amor que le dio nombre a la residencia oficial  mexicana, Los Pinos,  fue la del Presidente Lazaro Cardenas y su esposa Amalia SolórzanoSe conocieron  cuando Amalia asistió a un evento de la campaña  de Lazaro quien se lanzaba como candidato a la gubernatura de Michoacan.  Dias después, en la Huerta de Los Pinos  le ofrecieron a Lazaro Cardenas una comida. Ahi es donde pudo platicar y conocer mas a la joven Amalia.

Años mas tarde  cuando el General Cardenas asumió la Presidencia de México en 1934, decidió residir en el Rancho la Hormiga ya que le parecía menos ostentoso que el Castillo de Chapultepec.

El Presidente Lazaro Cardenas le cambió el nombre a Los Pinos en recuerdo de aquel lugar en donde conoció a su esposa de toda la vida,  Amalia Solórzano.

 

Y si de grandes artistas plásticos se trata no podemos dejar de mencionar uno de los grandes amores, y desamores, del Siglo XX. Nos referimos al legendario y atormentado romance de dos grandes genios Mexicanos, Frida Kahlo y Diego Rivera.  Como prueba de este gran amor queda esta frase de Frida a Diego:

“Te quiero más que a mi propia piel, y que aunque tú no me quieres de igual manera, de todos modos algo me quieres, ¿no? O si no es cierto, siempre me quedará la esperanza de que sea así, y con eso me conformo… Quiéreme tantito. Te adoro.” Frida

 

Great Mexican Love Stories


While February 14th is celebrated as the Day of Love and Friendship in many countries, it is perhaps celebrated with most fervor and tradition in Mexico.

 

This is the date where the most people are serenaded and the most chocolates and balloons are gifted. And that is because Mexicans are romantic people.

 

Our past is filled with countless and very famous stories of love and romance as lived by some of the most important historical figures of Mexico.

Perhaps the best-known romance during the era of the conquest is that of conquistador Hernan Cortes and the young indigenous girl, Nahua Malintzin.  She, along with other slaves, were given to Cortes as a gift from the Señores de Tabasco.

 

Malintzin immediately stood out to Cortes for her intelligence and ability to serve as an interpreter between the two peoples. She soon became an indispensable aid to Cortes, as well as his mistress. She adopted the Catholic religion and changed her name to Marina.

 

Marina and Hernan Cortes then had a son named Martin Cortes.

 

Don Benito & Margarita Juarez

Don Benito Juarez, president of Mexico and Father of the Americas, met the woman who would become his wife, Margarita Maza, while he worked as a waiter in her home.

When they married in 1843 he was already serving as Judge of First Instance of the civil branch in Oaxaca.

 

Don Benito was 20 years older than his young wife. They had 12 children, of which seven survived.

Married life was very difficult for Margarita as, for a long period of time during the war she had to live away from her husband and seven children in exile. During this time two of her children died.

Despite the distance and difficulties, Don Benito and Margarita always loved and supported each other. Margarita died at the age of 44, which deeply saddened and affected the Father of the Americas well into his final days.


El Callejon del Beso: A Love Story in Guanajuato


 

When two lovers pass through the Callejon del Beso,  the Alley of the Kiss, they must kiss on the third step in order for their love to last forever.

 

That’s why hundreds of people who pass through this narrow place don’t hesitate to do so and hope that the story turns out to be true.

 

Callejon del Beso is a beautiful place, located about 360 km from Mexico DF, in the city of Guanajuato.

Legend has it that the beautiful young Doña Carmen was the only daughter of a greedy and uncompromising father.

 

Like many parents of that time, he looked for a rich and powerful suitor to give the hand of his daughter in holy matrimony.

 

Therefore, he jealously watched her every move to prevent her from meeting the common and ordinary men in the poor mining town.

 

Just thinking that his beautiful daughter could fall in love with a poor villager filled him with anxiety.

But as it very often happens, love breaks down all barriers, however strong they may be.

 

Doña Carmen met Don Luis, a poor miner whom she would meet at a church near her home, unbeknownst to her father.

 

One fatefull day she was discovered when the young miner was courting the beautiful maiden by offering her holy water from his hands.

 

Furious her father locked her away at home and threatened to marry her to a rich old Spanish nobleman. This way he would “hit two birds with the same stick”…he would marry his daughter and increase his depleted fortune at the same time.

 
 

The beautiful and submissive girl sadly lived her confinement next to her beloved lady in waiting, Doña Brigida.

 

Every day from the balcony of her bedroom, both lamented over her distress and Doña Brigida did nothing but promise never to allow her to be taken to Spain against her will.

 

 

At first, the young lover didn’t know what to do since he was not allowed to talk to his beloved, but passing near her house, he noticed that her bedroom window faced exactly toward the window of the house next door and that they were scarcely a few inches apart. This gave him the possibility of staying in touch with his beloved if he bought the house next door.
He offered a good price to buy the house from the owner, but received constant negatives. Finally exasperated by the young man the owner set an extremely high price hoping to disuade him.

 

Nothing would deter the young man and in order to purchase the house he had to dispose of all his life’s savings in exchange.

 

However high the price, it was well worth it, for when he looked out the window he discovered that by extending his hand he could touch his beloved’s bedroom window with his knuckles.

 

Doña Carmen’s surprise was also great when, leaning over her balcony; she found the man of her dreams at such a short distance.

 

They swore eternal love and saw each other nightly from the adjacent balconies.

 

One evening while the lovers– wrapped in a passionate kiss– were distracted, violent words were heard from outside the bedroom.

 

It was Doña Carmen’s father– scolding Brigida, who was risking her life trying to prevent her master from entering her mistress’ room.

The father pushed Doña Brigida away.  When he saw his daughter kissing the miserable miner, he took a dagger and in a single stroke, drove it into his daughter’s chest– full of anger and rage.

 

Don Luis was in shock and with horror he felt Doña Carmen‘s hand, still in his, getting cold and motionless.

 

Knowing that his love was dead, Don Luis gave her one last, tender kiss on the smooth, pale, and now lifeless hand…

 

The young man could not bear to live without his beloved Carmen and in desperation committed suicide by jumping from the wall of the main shaft of La Mina de la Valenciana, The Valentian Mine.
Callejon del Beso still exists in the beautiful city of Guanajuato; it’s located in the historic area in the foothills of Cerro del Gallo, a town that has existed since the 18th Century and is without a doubt one of the most famous streets of the city.

 

This alley has the peculiarity of measuring only 27 inches wide and its balconies are almost joined to each other, at a fateful distance of “just a kiss”.