culture

Valetine’s day in June

A little rusty heart-shaped padlock locked on the railing

In many countries around the world Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14. But not in Brazil. So, if you are in love or have a relationship with a Brazilian, you might be a little disappointed on this day. Have you ever asked yourself why it is celebrated on a different date?

Origins

a couple of valentines holding handsSaint Valentine has never been that popular in Brazil. I dare to affirm that he is more popular nowadays than some decades ago.
Well, until the end of the 1940’s, Valentine’s Day was not celebrated at all in Brazil. Then, the adman João Doria developed a campaign for a department store in São Paulo to heat up the sales. He brought the idea of exchanging gifts, greeting cards, and chocolates on Valentine’s Day from Europe and North America. Dia dos Namorados – as it is known in Brazil – was celebrated for the first time on June 12, 1949.

June 12

Doria had three good reasons to postpone Dia dos Namorados to June:

1 – It was not a particularly good month for the sales
2 – Carnival is celebrated between February and early March. It can fall really close to February 14
3 – Saint Anthony’s day falls on June 13. He is recognized for blessing couples and marriages. So, the eve of Saint Anthony’s day seemed a good option.

If the value of the date was not appreciated at first, it is now the third best day for sales, ranking just behind Christmas and Mother’s Day.

The celebration

Couples exchange gifts, go eating out together, or do any other date night activity. Unlike countries where friendship is celebrated and friends also exchange presents, in Brazil Valetine’s Day is typically just for lovers.

So much love in the air can be disturbing for those who are alone. Many singles feel compelled to stay home. But they don’t have to. There are lots of parties, dance classes, drink specials, and dinners to prove one can have a really good time being single. Well, as we say in Portuguese: ‘Antes só do que mal acompanhado.’ (Better alone than in bad company)

Click here for words and expressions in Portuguese for Dia dos Namorados.

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