Posted by: Ali | February 14, 2010

Feliz Dia de la Amistad

Hallmark holiday” is a disparaging term, used predominantly in the United States, to describe a holiday that is perceived to exist primarily for commercial purposes, rather than to commemorate a traditionally significant religious or secular event.  Holidays that have been referred to as “Hallmark Holidays” include Valentine’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Sweetest Day, Mother’s Day and Fathers’ Day.

Gift givers often feel pressured to give a gift on those days as told by advertisers or society that one is expected. Men are heavily marketed to near Valentines Day by jewelry, chocolate, and other companies to give their products as gifts to the woman in their life.   As opposed to those holidays that are celebrated despite their “Hallmark” qualities, even more “manufactured” Hallmark holidays include Grandparents’ Day, Sweetest Day, Boss’s Day, and Administrative Professionals’ Day (formerly Secretary’s Day). These are frequently ignored by a sizable percentage of the public.

Is Valentine’s Day a Hallmark Holiday?  I’ve heard this accusation before but I never really thought about it.  To be sure, most stores go overboard whenever a holiday comes up and fill the windows with colourful decorations and other seasonal goodies that go on sale the day after the holiday (candy on November 1, anyone?).  But I never really thought about the subject before.

It only really occurred to me to think about it this week while wandering around Lima that Valentine’s Day is not really celebrated here.  Like at all.  There was an event put on in the Parque del Amor in Miraflores, but that’s to be expected, since it’s really the only holiday that is related to romance in the whole year.

Instead, in Peru they celebrate “Dia de la Amistad” or Friendship Day.  I was actually given a friendship bracelet for the occasion from Maria’s daughter Yocelin, and one of our volunteers, Kate, spent the week helping her students making crafts for their family for the occasion.  Apparently the holiday is celebrated by doing an act of appreciation for your friends.

Peru is not the only place that has this holiday in place of Valentine’s, either.  This is fairly common across Latin America.  So, without further ado, Feliz Dia de la Amistad!


  1. Valentine’s Day is really big in Mexico, according to Grandma & Grandpa. They have made a point of visiting at this time of year because they enjoy the Valentine’s Day activities so much.


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