Romance, love, and friendship are all important and fun topics for language learners to embark upon. Maybe you have a Valentine who speaks Spanish or maybe you just want to spice up your Valentine's card with another language. Regardless, writing a Valentine's Day card in Spanish is easy and rewarding. Also, it is a great way to share across cultures.
It is important to know what to say and what not to say when speaking about feelings. We will tell you what sounds more romantic and less romantic, what to say to a close friend and what to say to a long-time partner.
Do Spanish Speakers Celebrate Valentine's Day?
Valentine's Day, or Día de San Valentín, is celebrated in most Spanish speaking countries, albeit a bit less popular than in America. There was an actual Saint Valentine, more accurately Saint Valentine of Rome, who was officially recognized by the Catholic Church and whose day is, of course, February 14th. Because Spanish speaking countries are mostly catholic, this could explain the spread of the holiday to Latin America over the years.
The holiday first became popularized through the poetry of Chaucer and Shakespeare in England and other Northern European countries. In Spain, the holiday was not widely celebrated until fairly recently.
Although traditions vary slightly, the idea is the same, tell someone you love them in your own special way. This could be a box a chocolates, a heart shaped balloon, or a Valentine's Day card!
The Must-Know Love Vocabulary for Spanish Learners
To start we should probably write Happy Valentine's Day as a general greeting. Here are four different ways:
¡Feliz día de San Valentín! - Happy Valentine's Day
¡Feliz día de los Enamorados! - The Day of the Lovers (in most Latin American/South American countries)
¡Feliz día del amor! - Happy day of love
¡Feliz San Valentín! - Happy Valentine's Day (shorter)
Next, we have to know how to address our Valentine's Day special someone. This depends on how well you know the person or how long you have been dating. In some countries all of these words are widely used as greetings even to strangers, but we will try to organize the following terms of endearment from most romantic to least romantic:
Mi vida - my life
Mi amor - my love
Cariño - sweetheart
Dulce amigo(a) - sweet friend
Guapo(a) - handsome/cutie
Querido(a) - dear, beloved
Amigo(a) mía - Friend of mine, this is very friendly and not so passionate.
Top 7 Phrases of Love in Spanish
No te imaginas lo mucho que me importas - You can't imagine how much you mean to me.
Te quiero mucho - I love you so much
Te agradezco mucho cómo me amas - I appreciate how much you love me
Todo el día pienso en ti - I think about you all day
No puedo dejar soñar contigo - I can't stop dreaming about you
No puedo vivir sin ti - I can't live without you
Tenerte en mi vida es una de las suertes más grandes que tengo - Having you in my life is one of the luckiest things I have.
The Most Romantic Spanish Poetry
Poetry is a great source of romantic Spanish, especially the frequently quoted poems of Pablo Neruda. Here is my translation of "Poem 12":
Para mi corazón basta tu pecho,
para tu libertad bastan mis alas.
Desde mi boca llegará hasta el cielo
lo que estaba dormido sobre tu alma.
For my heart your chest is enough,
for your freedom enough are my wings.
That which was asleep on your soul,
from my mouth will reach the sky.
Two Examples of Valentine's Day Cards in Spanish
First, let´s start with a romantic card:
¡Feliz día de San Valentín!
Espero que hubiera más palabras de amor, temo que ya haya dicho todas. Por eso te escribo en dos idiomas, así mi amor puede ser el doble. No puedo dejar soñar contigo y contigo mi vida real no podría parecer más un sueño.
Happy Valentine's Day!
I wish there were more words of love, I'm afraid I've used them all. That's why I am writing you in two languages, so my love can be double. I can't stop dreaming about you and with you my real life couldn't seem more like a dream.
Here's one for a very good friend:
¡Feliz día de los Enamorados!
¿Qué puedo decir? Me ayudas siempre. Puedo contar contigo cuando no tengo a nadie con quien hablar. Eres un sol y siempre lo serás, ¡nunca dejes de ser ti mismo!
Happy Valentine's Day!
What can I say? You always help me. I can count on you when I don't have anyone to talk to. You are a sun and you always will be. Never stop being yourself!
How Can I Learn to Speak Romantic Spanish?
It is very easy to make mistakes when navigating the world of romantic Spanish. This is also quite embarrasing. It is always best to ask before saying or writing something very serious or important. If you don't have a native speaker handy to ask you should use Speechling's audio dictionary, which will make sure you don't mispronounce something embarrassing. It's a great tool to perfect your conversation skills, which will help on Valentine's Day. Advanced Spanish learners can use Speechling's FreeStyle mode to tune their pronunciation before they speak to their loved ones.
To really impress, and for a not too complicated Spanish book to read, check out "Twenty Love Poems" by Pablo Neruda. One great thing about Spanish poetry books is that they often come in easy to find bilingual editions. So, you can read a short poem in Spanish and feel the romance of it, then make sure you understand it all by reading the English page on the other side. This method can definitely provide some colorful and unusual vocabulary to your Valentine's Day card. If you think your phrases are still not enough, You may find 5 more romantic expressions in the "Love in Spanish" article.
Writing a Valentine's Day card in Spanish should be easy now, but make sure to put in your own flavor. Obviously the most important part is to make your Valentine feel special!