Well, before long it will be Valentine’s Day or, as they call it in Mexico, El Dia del Amor y la Amistad. This translates as ‘the day of love and friendship’.
And they have well and truly embraced this holiday, combining it with their own traditions and values of warmth and love. While Valentine’s Day is still a celebration of romantic love, it also serves as a day of appreciation of love as a whole. This means that as well as giving balloons, gifts and red roses to lovers, cards are also commonly presented to friends and family.
Although St Valentine does not specifically appear in Mexican history, the Mexica people did in fact have two deities that represented love.
Xochipilli 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 this pair of 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. Sounds far more interesting than just going out for dinner, that’s for sure!