Growing up, we did things a little differently, but I didn’t realize it until I was much older. My family immigrated to the U.S and with them, they brought culture and tradition. One of the many holidays we did differently was Valentine’s Day. In Mexico (and many other Latin American countries) they call it Dia del amor y la Amistad, which translates into “day of love and friendship”. While we still love to buy things for our loved ones, it didn’t stop at celebrating our significant others. We share the love with all of our friends, our children, our parents, our siblings, and the rest of our families.
In most cases, gifts aren’t too extravagant or over the top (although there are individuals who pull out all the stops). Our family was big and we didn’t have much money, but my mom still managed to give us some chocolate or cookies to celebrate. My dad usually ended up getting something essential like deodorant or lotion. The church we attended was a Hispanic church, and I remember the committee planning big lunches to celebrate everyone in attendance. Rose boutonnieres were given to all of the adult members and kids were given pieces of candy in their bible classes. I remember one year, my mom stayed up all night making heart pins for her friends at church.
I grew up celebrating people almost as much as we celebrated love. Love, for us, is such an amazing thing and we let people know every day that they were loved. This is one tradition I hope to pass on to my children as they grow up so that they can look back on these memories with joy, just as I have enjoyed looking back on these memories to share.