Día de Amor y Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship) is celebrated the third Saturday of September every year in Colombia. This is essentially the Valentine’s Day of Colombia.
This is a traditional celebration in Colombia in which lovers, husbands and wives, couples and friends express their love and affection.
In Colombia, normally for weeks before this day in September you will start to see hearts adorn restaurants, shops and bars.
In 2022, Día de Amor y Amistad in Colombia is on Saturday, September 17.
History of Valentine’s Day (a.k.a. Saint Valentine’s Day)
Valentine’s Day is an annual holiday typically celebrated on February 14 in many parts of the world. It is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration. But it’s reportedly not a public holiday in any country.
The origin of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to ancient Rome. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine little is known except that he met his end in Africa. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on February 14.
Most scholars believe that the Saint Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II in 270.
Supposedly Claudius had prohibited marriage for young men. He claimed that bachelors made for better soldiers. But Valentine continued to perform marriage ceremonies in secret. And he was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death.
Another legend has it that Valentine, who was imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with a daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he supposedly sent her a letter signed “from your Valentine.”
Chaucer and Shakespeare both romanticized Valentine’s Day in their work. And it gained popularity throughout Britain.
Valentine’s Day eventually it made its way to the U.S. And Hallmark Cards started mass producing Valentine cards in 1913, which was the start of massive commercialization of Valentine’s Day in the U.S.
Valentine’s Day is very big business in the U.S. The National Retail Federation estimated that U.S. consumers would spend a total of $20.7 billion USD on Valentine’s Day in 2019.
Día de Amor y Amistad is also a big business in Colombia. In 2016, sales on this day reportedly hit 38 billion pesos ($13.1 million) in Colombia just for credit and debit card sales, up 15 percent from the prior year.
History of Dia de Amor y Amistad
In several countries in Latin America, including Colombia, Valentine’s Day is known as Día de Amor y Amistad.
In many countries in the world like in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., “Valentine’s Day” remains on February 14, which is the most popular date to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the world. Also, most countries in Latin America use this February 14th date.
Most notably, Colombia changed the date in 1969. Reportedly merchants in Colombia wanted to change the date so that this day would be in September on the third Saturday of the month. This was so merchants could sell more roses and chocolates in September, which is a month that has no holidays in Colombia.
A few other countries besides Colombia in Latin America use different dates. For example, in Bolivia, this day is on July 23. And in Brazil, Día de los Novios is on June 12. In Brazil, February 14 is not used, as this is too close to carnival.
Typical Romantic Gifts in Colombia
Gifts for this day in Colombia normally vary according budget and whether the recipient is a friend or girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse.
Typical romantic gifts in Colombia re similar to gifts in the U.S. for Valentine’s Day. This includes chocolates and other candy, roses and other flowers, cards, a romantic dinner and even dancing afterwards, an invitation to the movies, cuddly toys, jewelry, clothing, perfume and so on.
It is possible to find inexpensive roses in Medellín. I’ve seen a dozen and even two dozen roses being sold in Medellín for 6,000 to 10,000 pesos.
Where to find gifts? Medellín has many malls. The largest malls in Medellín include Viva Envigado, Santafé, El Tesoro, Mayorca Mega Plaza, Premium Plaza, Oviedo, Los Molinos, Unicentro, San Diego, Florida Parque and Puerta Del Norte. Also, we have a guide to the best malls in Medellín.
Also, the big grocery chains like Exito and Jumbo will be selling gifts like flowers, candy and baskets for day.
In addition, you can find gifts at the many small tiendas in El Centro with usually better prices. For example, El Hueco in El Centro is an area full of 1,000s of shops of all types with good prices.
Romantic Dinners for Día de Amor y Amistad
If you want a romantic dinner for Día de Amor y Amistad reservations in advance are required for many restaurants.
The best restaurants typically are fully booked for this day well in advance. So, you should make reservations early.
Four of my favorite restaurants in Medellín for this romantic day are Carmen, Oci.Mde and El Cielo. For restaurants that don’t take reservations, make sure to get there early on this popular day for eating out.
Some restaurants can also do more. For example, Tony Roma’s, the revolving restaurant at the top of Hotel Dann Carlton in El Poblado, Medellín, is able to set up a table with roses as seen in the photo above for an additional fee.
The Bottom Line: Día de Amor y Amistad
The bottom line is that Valentine’s Day is known as Día de Amor y Amistad in Colombia, which is celebrated in September.
I’m from the United States, so I am accustomed to celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 14.
But my Colombian wife is accustomed to celebrating the Colombian version each year on the third Saturday of September. Colombians celebrate this day in September much more than the February 14 Valentine’s Day used in the U.S.
So, as a couple we now celebrate both days in Colombia – Valentine’s Day on February 14 and Día de Amor y Amistad, which s celebrated on Saturday, September 17 in 2022.
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Editors note: updated on January 1, 2019 to add the 2019 date for Día de Amor y Amistad.
Editors note: updated on January 27, 2020 to add the 2020 date for Día de Amor y Amistad.
Editors note: updated on September 18, 2020 with updated information.
Editors note: updated on September 1, 2020 to add the 2021 date for Día de Amor y Amistad.
Editors note: updated on January 17, 2021 to add the 2022 date for Día de Amor y Amistad.
Nice article. I didn’t know that merchants were the reason why Dia de Amor y Amistad is in September in Colombia. So Colombia is just as commercial as the U.S. for their “Valentines Day”.
Nice Jeff, so you celebrate Valentines day twice. How many holidays do they have in Colombia?
Hi Brock, thanks. Colombia currently has 18 public holidays and 12 of these are Catholic holidays. Reportedly only two countries in the world have more public holidays – Sri Lanka and India – according to this: http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-most-public-holidays.html
Thanks Jeff, Actually Tobago and Trinidad are # 3 on the list. Still pretty good. I would have guessed Puerto Rico would top the list. When I was there sailing to the Caribbean, it seemed like the celebrated every holiday on the planet.
Trinidad and Tobago has 18 holiday like Colombia, so ties with Colombia for #3.
Thanks Jeff, Still that’s a good deal of holidays! I love it! Have a great night.
Thank you! Worth knowing before Saturday!
Si de regalar flores a domicilio en Colombia se trata cualquier ocasión es buena, incluyendo San Valentine’s day, sorprende a tus seres queridos, amigos y familiares con flores de alta calidad, frescas y con aroma extraordinario. Revisa la gran variedad de arreglos que tenemos diseñados especialmente para quienes amas.
(in English) If giving flowers at home in Colombia is any occasion, it is good, including San Valentine’s day, surprise your loved ones, friends and family with high quality flowers, fresh and with extraordinary aroma. Check out the wide variety of arrangements we have specially designed for those you love – https://www.floresparacolombia.com/flores-medellin.htm
Well, Colombia is exactly the right place if you want to say it with flowers. Once, fearing that someone in the park across the street was having an attack of some kind or maybe a bad hangover from some powerful drug I asked our doorman what was that screaming in the early morning hours. The guy was yelling something at the top of his lungs but I couldn’t make it out. Turns out he comes by every day pushing a cart yelling FLO-RES !!!!!!!!!