Looking for ways to say Valentine’s Day in Spanish? If so, welcome to the second post in our long-term, ¿cómo se dice? series. In ¿cómo se dice?, we introduce you to some of the most useful vocabulary and variants across the Spanish-speaking world. Our goal is to help you feel more comfortable taking linguistic risks so that you can embrace all the Spanish-speaking world has to offer. Today’s edition? Valentine’s Day!
In this post, we’ll only be outlining some of the most basic Spanish vocabulary for Valentine’s Day. In later posts, we’ll build upon what’s below.
Did you know there are at least four ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day or its equivalent in Spanish? The most commonly used term depends upon location, but each phrase begins with the word feliz, which is Spanish for “happy.”
Feliz can sometimes be confused with alegre, which is another Spanish word for “happy.” However, alegre is commonly used with the verb estar or to describe something or someone, not as a greeting. ” It’s like the difference between saying “Happy Christmas” and “She is happy.”
Below are the four most common ways to say Happy Valentine’s Day in Spanish.
Feliz Día de San Valentín
This literally translates as “Happy Day of Saint Valentine” or “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Saint Valentine was a real person, and Valentine’s Day has a long history in Christianity, only becoming a commercial holiday in the late 1800s. You can read more about Saint Valentine and Valentine’s Day in English here and in Spanish here.
Feliz Día del Amor y la Amistad
This translates as “Happy Love and Friendship Day” or “Happy Day of Love and Friendship.” While the friendship aspect is not as emphasized in some countries, in many places, you can see celebrations of friendship in schools and classrooms where students exchange Valentine’s cards or tarjetas de San Valentín.
Feliz Día de los Enamorados
This phrase can be translated a couple different ways but is difficult to translate directly. The word-for-word translation is something like “Happy Day of the ‘In-Loves’.” But, it’s probably better translated as “Happy Day of In-Love People! Or, not “G-rated”: “Happy Lover’s Day.”
Feliz Día del Cariño
Okay. This admittedly sounds a little strange in English, but Feliz Día del Cariño translates as “Happy Affection Day” or “Happy Day of Affection/Caring.”
Time for light Spanish grammar! If you’re less than thrilled to hear that, no problem. We’ll keep it simple. If you already know your grammatical stuff, you might want to skip ahead.
In Spanish, nouns have gender and number. “Gender” means that Spanish nouns are either masculine or feminine. “Number” means Spanish nouns are either singular or plural. So, in total, we have four options for each noun. Don’t worry if this sounds overwhelming–picking between the options will “click” and become mostly automatic before you know it.
Okay. So say we want to talk about friends in Spanish. We need a definite and an indefinite article. In Spanish, there are four definite articles, which have gender AND number. Don’t get too caught up in remembering “definite” and “indefinite”–it’s easier to remember THE and A/AN/SOME.
Spanish Definite and Indefinite Articles
A definite article simply means “the” in English. In Spanish, definite articles are:
There are four indefinite articles, which translate in English as “a” or “an” in singular form or “some” in plural. In Spanish, they are:
There are four forms of the word “friend” in Spanish, and each will take a matching definite or indefinite article, which is just a complicated way of saying that we’ll put “the” or “an/an/some” in front of them, depending upon what we are trying to say.
This isn’t true 100% of the time, but in their singular forms, Spanish masculine nouns usually end in “o” and feminine nouns usually end in “a.” See if you can identify which of the above four nouns are masculine and which of the four are masculine (hint: two of each).
Number with Nouns in Spanish
If you already made the leap and realized that adding an “s” to the masculine or feminine form usually makes the nouns plural, you’re correct! If we want to say “the friend” (singular), we say:
- el amigo
- la amiga
But if we want to say “the friends” (plural), we add an “S,” just like we do in English:
- las amigas
- los amigos
So, if you have a male or female friend, the choices are pretty clear. A male friend is “el amigo” and a female friend is “la amiga.” But what about mixed groups? Admittedly, this gets tricky.
Language is Living, So There’s No Perfect Rule
Traditionally, any group that involved even one male took the masculine form of the noun. But, convention has changed, and now use is usually dictated by area and by environment within that area. Unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules that can be applied to all situations or areas.
To outline examples of use, though, in some areas and environments, the traditional rule holds. In other environments, the gender of the majority of a group is used. So, for example, if there are five women and two men in a group, the speaker might use the feminine form “amigas” because there are more females than males. In still other areas, a gender-neutral form is used. (This use is not very common colloquially.) Finally, some speakers try to avoid gendered groups altogether, choosing to instead use the general term amistad or “friendship” or to re-word what they are trying to say.
Basic “Love” Verbs in Spanish
Today’s Valentine’s verbs arrive in the form of three regular -AR verbs and a stem-changing “core” verb:
|to really like or
have affection for
It’s worth noting that amar is most often used for extremely serious, close romantic relationships; however, in some, but not all, Spanish-speaking areas, it can be used with close familial relationships. Querer is more commonly used for love or affection between family members, new or casual romantic relationships, and very close friends.
You may have seen the verb QUERER in other contexts as well, as it is most often used as “to want.” Just like in English, Spanish verbs sometimes have secondary or tertiary definitions or uses that are dependent upon context.
The three above regular -AR verbs can also be reflexive, which is beyond the scope of this discussion but something we’ll definitely talk about in other posts.
And, like most verbs, these verbs can be used in their infinitive forms (as in the above examples) or conjugated to form sentences.
Not sure what “conjugation” is? Conjugation is a form of translation where you select a pronoun and then pick the correct “form” of the verb to match it in order to create “action.” In your native language, you do this subconsciously. For example, “to kiss” is the unconjugated or infinitive form of the verb and “I kiss” is the conjugated or “action” form of the verb.
More Vocabulary and Practice
Ready to get some practice and/or learn some new vocabulary? Below you’ll find a FREE downloadable worksheet that you or your students or kids can use to get some gender and number practice (meaning matching Spanish nouns to their correct singular or plural forms) while reviewing or learning a little bit of new vocabulary.
Every noun on the worksheet relates to Valentine’s Day and follows the general “rules.” So, no tricky words on this sheet. We’ll get to those in due time. ☺ Here’s the list of covered terms:
If you have questions, comments, or just want to say “hello,” leave a comment below or get in touch here.
Looking for some adorable, colorable Valentine’s pages, including some that aren’t filled with hearts? Check out these free pages from our friends at Spanish School for Kids.