Commentary

It is Valentine’s Day …Eve!

I love You, Happy Valentine's Day

I love You, Happy Valentine’s Day

In Utah that means people enjoy doing extra little things for their loved ones.  People eat pink sugar cookies shaped like hearts and frosted with powdered sugar concoctions, and in some way that connotes ‘love.’ (Sugar – the addiction for the faint of heart, is to be shared with others this day much as bhang is enjoyed for Holi.  But that is half a world away from Peru.)

Special treats are also common in Peru. Palta Rellena, or stuffed avocado is a favored dish because the avocado is considered an aphrodisiac. (When the Spanish priest encountered it, they immediately banned its use because of its resemblance to male testicles.) It is often stuffed with shrimp or other delights. However, in Peru, St. Valentine celebrates friendship as well as romance. The sharing of gifts and cards is common. Orejjtas de chango is a lovely little heart shaped cookie that may be shared with friends and family to recognize the love between them.

Lovely Little Heart Shaped Cookie
Lovely Little Heart Shaped Cookie

There are also gifts of flowers, particularly roses, and chocolates.  On this day of love and friendship I was thinking of my friends in Peru.  Perusing (haha – I like the word because it fuses Peru and sing and the end result means looking) Amazon, I was led to a board book series entitled ‘I love you Llama, Llama.

I laughed at the title and the anthropomorphization of the llama in the series, as he depicts common Valentine’s Day elementary school activities United States.  In many schools, small cards and treats are shared with classmates and friends to show … well to be honest, it mostly shows that you can copy all the names on a piece of paper on to envelopes.

The author of this books series was a rural carrier, and a day care provider, like myself.  She always liked to draw things, and was inspired to write by her older sister, anthropologist Tanya Marie Luhrmann. Tanya writes an entirely different genre of books, including her latest “When God Talks Back”.

Orejitas de Chancho
Orejitas de Chancho

In Utah, we also celebrate love by getting married.  My dear friend of 14 years is getting married Valentines weekend. It is common to plan such events to coincide with the ‘day of love’.  In Peru, St. Valentines is sometimes celebrated by mass weddings as many people come together to share the love (and the expense) of a wedding.

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