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Valentine's Day in Latin America

February 12, 2009 |  8:55 am

Forbes magazine takes a peek at Valentine's Day around the world and includes Mexico, Brazil and Guatemala in its sweep.

Valentine's Day, or the day of "love and friendship" (amor y amistad), as it's called here in Mexico City, is a hit with many Mexicans.

"According to Jennifer Hirsch, professor of socio-medical sciences at Columbia University, the 'red rain' begins as soon as Christmas is over. It is common for Mexican men and women to exchange flowers, red balloons and anything red and heart-shaped. The gift-giving is an expression of love and prosperity, says Hirsch, especially among migrant laborers."

The Brazilians, on the other hand, celebrate  Dia dos Namorados ("the day of lovers") on June 12, not Feb. 14, in honor of St. Anthony, patron saint of matchmaking and marriage.

"Single women perform rituals, like writing the names of their crushes on pieces of paper the night before, folding them up and then opening one on the big day to determine who they should marry," reports Forbes.

And in Guatemala, El Día del Cariño, "the day of affection," is much like Valentine's Day in the U.S, only broader.

Guatemalans exchange flowers, chocolates and cards, but the day is also about showing fondness for friends and colleagues.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

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