San José, Costa Rica, Sunday 14  February  2010

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Feliz Día del Amor y la Amistad (Happy Valentines Day)

Valentines Day is celebrated on the 14th of February all over the world (with the exception of Colombia* and Brazil**), a day when lovers express their love for each other in a very special way.

The holiday is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in AD 496. The holiday first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

In Costa Rica Valentines Day has a tradition celebrated in similar fashion to that in North America, a day on which intimate companions express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery and sending text messages over the telephones. The sending of greeting cards was never popular given to the Costa Rican mail addressing system.

Others ways that Costa Ricans express their love for each other is by taking part in events and concerts. For 2010, the main event on tap is the WWE Wrestlemania event tonight in Alajuela.

Celebrations in bars and discos are also common today. Although not much different than any other night at a bar or disco, today there is love in the air, along with the smell of smoke and the consumption of lots of alcohol.

Dinner out is also another tradition that Valentines Day is celebrated in Costa Rica. Although dinner is really more lunch. Since this year Valentines Day is on a Sunday, there isn't much of a difference between the traditional Sunday lunch from the Valentines Day lunch/dinner.

For those living on the coast, a romantic sunset is a perfect setting for Valentines Day. Although for beach dwellers who see the sunset every day, today's sunset will be different. How? Get out there and see it for yourself. And if you can't see the difference, well then you are really not in the Valentines Day mood.

Although Valentines Day has different names in different places of the world.

 "Día del Amor y la Amistad" is the more common name in Latin America. In Guatemala it is called "Día del Cariño". In Brazil they call it "Dia dos Namorados".

Another name for Valentines Day in Latin America is also "Amigo Secreto" (Secret Friend) which is quite popular where each participant is randomly assigned a recipient who is to be given an anonymous gift (similar to the Christmas tradition of Secret Santa).

Valentines Day is more important to women than men. Guys tend to forget that today is Valentines Day. Big mistake if you are in a relationship or looking to be in a relationship.

Happy Valentines Day from all of us at Inside Costa Rica. Although we have sent out cards and delivered roses, our pages today are filled with hearts. And we leave you today with this all importatn message:

* Día del Amor y la Amistad or also Dia de los Enamorados or Valentines Day is celebrated in Colombia the third Saturday in September.

** Dia dos Namorados is celebrated in Brazil on June 12.










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