You might already know that Mexicans are enthusiastic about holidays and celebrations! And Valentine’s Day is no exception! In fact, in Mexico, the 14th of February is known as the Day of Love and Friendship, a day to show love and appreciation to the important people in your life. In the last decade it has become more commercial and is celebrated with a couple of local traditions. You’ll likely see heart shaped balloons, chocolates, roses and cuddly toys and bears being exchanged. But there are many artisanal handicrafts and other locally produced items which are more personal and also bring business to local communities. So, without further ado, here are some extra special gifts to give your loved ones this Valentine’s Day.
Milagros de Hojalata
Los Milagros de Hojalata are hearts made from brass or tin and are intricately decorated and painted with beautiful and romantic colors. These hearts are said to represent the way in which love is like a work of art; something to be perfected and which requires hard work. These hearts are typically found in Oaxaca or in San Miguel de Allende and they come from the tradition of giving gifts to the Virgin in exchange for some help with finding love.
Locally Brewed Beer
Another great option for a Valentine’s Day gift this year is an artisanal beer. What better way to say I love you than with a delicious beverage? Mexico has produced many excellent craft ales and beers in the last decade, many of which can be found when exploring Mexico City. We recommend Tempus, originally from Queretaro, and Seis Hileras, which was created by 3 brothers in Mexico City. Other artisanal alcoholic beverages such as Tequila or Mezcal also make great gifts!
Amber from Chiapas
You might have seen Chiapas amber and not even have realized it! This fluorescent stone comes for the south of Mexico and is fossilized tree resin which comes from an extinct species of tree. Amber was particularly special to the ancient Maya civilization and was used in trade and offerings. You can find many items with amber in San Cristobal de las Casas in the region of Chiapas, such as necklaces, earrings and more jewelry. It’s also worth a visit to the Amber Museum, where you can see some very impressive pieces which have been carved into incredible shapes and forms. The amber is also famous for preserving moments in time; you can find small pieces with insects frozen inside them which certainly makes for a unique gift!
Tree of Life
Our final suggestion, the Arbol de Vida, or Tree of Life, is a one of Mexico’s most impressive handicrafts. It’s a clay sculpture which beautifully represents Mexican culture whilst also depicting biblical tales and characters. Traditionally, the Tree of Life includes the figures of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden but nowadays it can feature themes such as Day of the Dead. Even if you’re not particularly religious, the sculptures can be admired for their incredibly intricate details. It used to be presented to newlyweds to wish them luck in their marriage and success in life together!