Before, it was mostly women who received gifts, chocolates and flowers. Today, it is quite common for girls to ask boys out as well, and so store windows ‘for Him’ are also dressed up with paper hearts, wallets, lotions, shirts and sweaters.
It is true that the date is commercial, yet it perfectly fits the loving and festive nature that defines Mexicans.
We use this sweet excuse to pamper our loved ones, friends and family.
Besides, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to show our feelings for that guy or gal that we like. The days prior to this date are filled with a lot of excitement among our school mates, co-workers or neighborhood friends. We know the couples who have not yet decided to go steady, so the guys speculate about who will end the day together holding hands.
February 14 is also an ideal date to propose and even to get married!
In schools, classroom-friendly gift exchanges are organized. The kids write their name on a slip of paper and then place it in a bag or box. Then each person chooses one of the slips and thus decides who their gift will be for. Generally, those involved in the exchange agree to the maximum price that will be spent on the gifts.
Many schools organize bazaars, which are like small fairs, selling snacks and appetizers. A room to view romantic movies is adapted and a ‘civil registry‘ is installed, where the couple gets “married”. This game is really fun, because sometimes couples who hate each other respectively are “forced” to marry, or one who hasn’t yet confessed his love is thereby discovered.
Flower stands selling roses that offer free delivery service never fail, so you can send flowers anonymously. It’s very exciting to receive a flower with no sender! Although the author of the surprise is always revealed, sooner or later…
From the school bazaars, the couples usually go for a stroll with flowers and balloons in hand, along the city’s main avenues or most popular tourist spots. In the capital, for example, the most traditional are Coyoacan, San Angel, or theZocalo, in the Historic Center and, even more so, Bosque de Chapultepec, where couples can stroll along its beautiful trails, go boating on the lake, or stay in the shade of a centuries-old bald cypress.
Of course, there are also large groups of friends, because–remember–it’s not only a day of love, but also of friendship. Sometimes, still wearing their school uniforms, they’re seen together in the streets: laughing, hugging, taking pictures of each other and making jokes. Sometimes they get together to go to the movies or to eat ‘fast food’ at a mall. The day ends with a collection of gifts, flowers and hand-made notes of those who consider us their ‘best friends’.
For their part, children often give their parents paper hearts, little notes and candy. Parents take the family to eat, consenting mothers prepare a special cake or dessert; girl friends exchange chocolates, flowers and small gifts … Also part of the celebration are those older couples who use the day to remember old times and treat themselves to a kiss while strolling through the parks.