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Dia dos Namorados: The Brazilian Valentine’s Day

Dia dos Namorados (Lover’s Day) takes place on the 12th of June every year and is celebrated across the Portuguese speaking world. In Brazil, it is the equivalent of Valentine’ Day which is February 14th in Europe and the English speaking world.

How is Dia dos Namorados celebrated?

Dia dos Namorados is celebrated the same way as Valentine’s Day. Lovers give each other cards and gifts of flowers, chocolates and sweets. Typically they go out for a romantic dinner with champagne. However, some people decorate the interior of their house, and in some parts of Brazil there are street decorations, parties and festivals to celebrate the day.

What are the origins of Dia dos Namorados?

Azulejo tiles depicting Santo Antônio and baby Christ.

At a popular level, the origins of Dia dos Namorados appear to be a reaction to the success and popularity of Valentine’s Day in Europe and the USA. St Valentine’s Day (Dia do Santo Valentino) falls on the 14th of February which clashes with the Brazilian Carnival. Therefore, the 12th of June was chosen as a date for couples to celebrate their love for each other due to it being the eve of Dia do Santo Antônio (St. Anthony’s Day). Santo Antonio de Padua (St. Anthony of Padua) was a 13th-century Portuguese friar of the Franciscan order that is important in Portuguese Roman Catholicism. It is said that Santo Antônio was gifted in helping to reconcile couples and bless marriages. This is why in Portugal, Spain and Brazil he is considered the patron saint of marriages and St. Anthony’s Day became a day in which people sought the Saint’s blessings to heal their love life.

Rituals or Simpatias associated with Santo Antônio

Over time, a tradition formed where women perform rituals called simpatias (sympathies) dedicated to Santo Antônio, calling upon his blessing to improve their love lives or strengthen their relationships.

Today this tradition varies across Brazil, and of course, not all women practice such rituals. However, of those who do, each region has its own way of performing simpatias. A simpatia can be as simple as lighting a candle at church and saying a prayer. However, some simpatias are rather complex, involving the mixing of potions and special incenses for burning. They can even be rather specific and used to attract things such as making a friend love you, stopping lovers from being unfaithful, or stopping jealousy.

A list of Brazilian simpatias for Santo Antônio

There are hundreds of simpatias for love and marriage, this list doesn’t even scratch the surface. Personally, I find them quite endearing.

Attracting a loving partner

1. This simpatia is one of the most traditional for those who want to find a boyfriend. To do it, you just need to place a small figurine of Santo Antonio upside down in a glass of water. While doing this, ask the saint to introduce you to someone nice, making them both fall in love and start dating. Tell him that he will only come out of punishment after fulfilling your request.

2. A similar simpatia that is practised in the city of Concordia in the state of Santa Catarina is to instead place the figure of the saint in a bowl of salt.

3. Bring a red rose to a boil in a litre of water for five minutes. When the mixture is warm, add a spoon (dessert) of honey. Toss this mixture from the neck down and then take your daily shower, thanking St. Anthony for his help in finding great love. What’s left of the simpatia should be thrown away.

Attracting a date

On any Friday, buy a glass and fill it with water, add three pinches of salt and a red rose. Leave the flower in the cup for two days. After this period, take your shower normally and pour the water from the cup over your body, from the neck down. Meanwhile, repeat the phrase three times: “Santo Antônio, send an Antônio to me”. The rose should be thrown away and the cup can be used normally after washing.

Attracting your soul mate

Buy a picture of Santo Antônio and keep it in your wardrobe. Every day, before going to sleep, say a Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. Then say, “Forgive me for leaving you without seeing the light of day, but this is how I feel without my soul mate. With your spiritual eyes, find him and make us united forever.” When you find love, remove the saint from there and pass the simpatia and image to a person in need, teaching them how to acquire Santo Antônio’s blessings.

Turning a friend into a lover

Spread a little honey on a saucer and leave it at the foot of an image of Santo Antônio for seven days. Put a picture of you and your friend together under the saucer. Every morning, as soon as you get up, ask the saint to change your friend’s feelings. When making the request, say an Our Father and place a small coin at the feet of the saint. On the eighth day, give the coins to the first needy person you find. Throw the saucer in the trash. Keep the photo inside a book with a love theme. Then, just wait for the result.

Fending off rivals

Take a picture of Santo Antônio, write your partner’s name under it and keep it inside a gift box. Over the image, throw the petals of a red rose and two jewelled rings, which will represent a pair of wedding rings. Keep this box tucked away in the back of your wardrobe or drawer and keep your simpatia a secret. When you want to get rid of the box, leave the saint in your room. Take the petals to the church closest to your home and throw the rest of the sympathy in the trash.

Ending jealousy in your relationship

At the altar, or in front of a church dedicated to Santo Antônio, pray the following prayer: “My Santo Antônio, I come to ask you to bless my relationship with (name the jealous person), giving us confidence so that he will forget jealousy.” Light a white candle and offer it to the saint.

Find out if you will get married to your current lover

If you already have a boyfriend and want to find out if he is the one you will end up marrying, do the following simpatia. On June 13th, St. Anthony’s Day, fill a basin or pot with water and place the two needles inside. Then add the two tablespoons of water. Let the bowl rest overnight. The next day, if the needles are together, it is a sign that you are meant to be and he will propose soon.

So, on the 12th of June, remember to say “feliz dia dos namorados” to your Brazilian friends who are in a relationship. They will get a real kick out of it. And don’t forget your single Brazilian friends either, they might be feeling a bit blue so give them a call and see if they want to catch up for some pizza and a few beers.

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