Worldwide couples give presents to each other for Valentine’s Day. Especially roses are popular gifts to show your girlfriend you love her. However did anyone ever think about the origin of these wonderful flowers? The main part of roses and flowers is imported from Ecuador. In Ecuador Valentine’s day is celebrated as the day of friendship and love. And it’s not only a day for couples to go out for dinner and buy expensive presents, no, they celebrate a really big party down here.

Flower market in Quito — © Laura Straub.
Flower market in Quito — © Laura Straub.


Sweet muffins at En Dulce — © Laura Straub.
Sweet muffins at En Dulce — © Laura Straub.

As mentioned above Valentine’s Day or how Ecuadorians call it el día de San Valentín has got a way more important meaning for the people here. This is why a lot of places like stores, schools and offices take a holiday to celebrate with their friends and loved ones. And that is what is so special about el día de San Valentín in Ecuador: It’s not only about love but also about friendship. That means that also friends go out for dinner or some drinks together to celebrate their friendship. The ones that don’t take a day off usually show their colleagues how happy they are to work with them by leaving them a little gift on their desk. Popular gifts are for example chocolate and other sweets, balloons or little cuddly toys.

Where does it come from?

Different colors of roses — © Laura Straub.
Different colors of roses — © Laura Straub.

According to historical delivery Valentine’s Day is celebrated in honor of Bishop Valentin from Rome. He worked as a priest and wedded couples although Emperor Claudius II prohibited it. As a present he gave the couples flowers from his garden. February 14th in 269, he died as a martyr through decapitation. Time after time this day became more popular because of a commercial gap, flower traders and chocolate sellers discovered.

Roses — Valentine’s favorite

In 2015, Ecuador exported 33 tons of flowers for 196 million dollars. The most popular one still is the rose. Nevertheless chose wisely, every color has a different meaning:

  • White roses: Loyalty, purity and the beginning of something new
  • Yellow roses: Sunny feelings, friendship and care (not appropriate for your partner though because the color Yellow also stands for jealousy)
  • Pink roses: Delicate feelings and gratitude
  • Orange roses: Remind us of a flame and are a symbol for happiness and good luck in a relationship
  • Red roses: Classy, they stand for love

Now that you have been guided through the jungle of roses, have fun giving and receiving presents from your loved ones and enjoy el día de San Valentin!

Our friends from Ailola Buenos Aires also wish you a happy day of love friendship!

Originally published on Ailola by Laura Straub on February 14, 2017.