Valentine’s day is around the corner, and it perfectly fits the loving and festive nature that defines Mexicans. We use this sweet excuse to pamper our loved ones, friends and family. Throughout history, love has always been very important to Mexicans and as a result, we have many romantic Mexican traditions.
Our ancient civilization Mexica had two gods, that personified Love: Xochipilli and Xochiquetzal. Xochipilli was like the Apollo of the Mexica. He was the god of Love, games, beauty, dance, flowers, corn and songs. His name means “the prince of the flowers” and he had a twin sister, the goddess of love, Xochiquetzal, meaning “precious flower or ornate bird.” In honor of this pair of gods and their representation of love, Mexica used to celebrate with a four day festival. During this time the people would make offerings of bread and corn, pierce their tongues with maguey thorns and dance to the beat of drums called teponaztli.
Today, Mexico’s Valentine’s Day celebrations are similar to celebrations around the world. Red roses are given, romantic cards written and chocolates enjoyed. But we do have some traditions that remain our own.
In smaller towns, young people often meet in town squares; the girls stand on one side, the boys on the other. Then, they walk around the perimeter in opposite directions, so they can face and look at each other. On the second round the boys offer a flower to the girl that they like. On the third round, if the girl has retained the flower, it means that she has agreed to go out with her suitor. If she doesn’t keep the flower, it means she has rejected him and the boy must pick another girl.
My absolute favorite way of expressing the love in Mexico are “las serenatas” (serenades). They are just so romantic! You have probably seen the act of playing a serenade in some movie. Usually, the boyfriend gathers a group of mariachi, or a trio, and visits the girlfriend’s house after the sunset. On the street, under his loved one’s window, they all start to sing the most romantic and heartfelt songs. The intention is to wake her up with songs that will touch the heart. When the girl appears at her window, it means that she is pleased and approves of the serenade (I can’t imagine a girl could resist such a sweet and romantic gesture from her loved one!). However the family may be a different story- if they approve of the suitor he may be invited in to visit, but if the family does not they may toss the water on him!
At Capella Ixtapa we have prepared a special Valentine’s Day package and are organizing many romantic activities and sweet attentions during this most romantic month. Who knows, we might even get to play a serenade for some of our lucky guests!
Photo: LA76 Photography