In the UK, Valentine’s Day is for many, a blatant commercialistic, moneymaking endeavour, aimed at making romantic couples feel obligated to buy each other gifts. Some British singletons even dread February 14th, as the thought of being alone on this day can be considered embarrassing! However, on this same day, just over the Atlantic, this date is celebrated in an infinitely more collective and beautiful way. In Honduras, what we know as Valentine’s Day is called ‘Love and Friendship Day’ and is a celebration of unity, family and loved ones.
The morning of February 14th, we held a class in Marco Aurelio Soto School on ‘Natural Resources’ and at the beginning of the class, we were each presented with a Valentine’s gift from the children! Handmade cups containing sweets with a note of thanks attached, each was different from the one before. This was an incredibly simple, but lovely gesture, that demonstrated perfectly the spirit of the day and its inclusive nature.
After an exciting morning of lessons we had to rush back to make it to the COMUCAP office in time for the festivities! We all sat on a long table and we were treated to an appetiser of Spanish Karaoke! The COMUCAP ladies took turns to sing love songs, of which lyrics were displayed brightly on the far wall, and we all couldn’t help but let out a few giggles! Then we were served our starter; ‘Sopa de Gallina India’, a traditional Honduran thin soup of chicken and vegetables with lemon, typically served on Sundays or for celebrations. Our main, was again a typical dish consisting of chicken cooked on the bone with rice and potato - delicious!
The strawberry jam sponge cake we had made the previous evening was then served as dessert. And immediately afterwards, it was our time to shine as we prepared to sing Karaoke. As a group we had already made a pact that if we’re ever made to sing, dance or anything else embarrassing in public, we would do it together, so as a group we selected ‘One More Chance’ by Jackson 5 and sang our hearts out! Our shouting and out-of-time rendition of the classic elicited lots of laughs from the COMUCAP ladies! Then the ‘Punta’ music started, space was cleared and the ladies showed us the moves. More laughs quickly followed at our poor attempt to copy the ladies great dancing skills.
All in all, it was a great Valentine’s party and we were home for 3pm! I think that everyone in our group would happily swap our superficial, commercialistic and overly romantic Valentine’s Day, full of tacky cards and flowers, for a fun day of celebrating peace, friendship and unison, Honduran style.
Written by Frances Cooper