Do we celebrate Valentine’s Day in Brazil? Not exactly, but we have a similar date. It is celebrated on a different day, it honors a different saint, and we celebrate it a little differently. So, let me tell you about Valentine’s Day in Brazil: Dia dos Namorados.
Trust me: If you have a Brazilian significant other, you want to know this, so you don’t get in trouble 😉
This Portuguese lessons has:
- Cultural aspects of Dia dos Namorados
- How to say I love you and I miss you in Portuguese
- Useful verbs in Portuguese for Dia dos Namorados
- Sweet words to use with your Brazilian loved one
When is Valentine’s Day in Brazil?
In Brazil, we do not celebrate San Valentino. Instead, we celebrate Dia dos Namorados on June 12.
The expression Dia dos Namorados literally translates to Boyfriend/Girlfriend Day. Or we could call it Sweethearts’ Day.
How Brazilians celebrate Valentine’s Day
In Brazil, we do not gift or give cards to coworkers, friends, and family on Dia dos Namorados. We gift our significant other. The date is celebrated by couples, both married and unmarried romantic couples.
To celebrate the date, couples give each other gifts and go out for a romantic dinner.
Gifts include flowers and chocolates, but also nice, expensive gifts such as brand name clothing and jewelry.
If you plan to dine out, check if the place takes reservations. Restaurants can be crowded on Dia dos Namorados.
This is the part where I help you to not get in trouble 😉 Yes, pay attention! If your significant other is Brazilian, you want to ask what she/he expects of this date. If you are not sure, I suggest you get a nice gift and plan a beautiful evening together. While everyone is different, it is my belief that it is safer to celebrate your loved one on Dia dos Namorados and make them feel special.
Dia dos Namorados can be a fun night for singles, too. Many bars and clubs host special singles’ nights with events and games to help you find your next date 😊 It is a good day to flirt.
Why Valentine’s Day in Brazil is on June 12
The origin of this celebration is purely commercial. It was a marketing idea to improve sales during a month when sales were typically slow.
With that said, June 12 was chosen because it is the eve on Santo Antônio’s birthday, which is on June 13th.
In Brazil, Santo Antônio de Lisboa or Santo Antônio de Pádua is known as Santo Casamenteiro, that is, the saint who can help single women find a husband (casamento = marriage). Yes, this is a sexist, outdated belief.
Fun cultural fact: There are superstitions around ways in which you can sort of put pressure on Santo Antônio to find you a husband soon. Some people will, for example, leave the saint upside down inside a glass of water or cachaça until they get married.
Now you know what’s happening if your loved one has Santo Antônio upside down 😉
3 ways to say I love you in Portuguese
Te amo = I love you
Amo você = I love you
Te adoro = I adore you
You can also say:
Sou louca/o por você = I am crazy about you
- If you are a man, you say louco. If you are a woman, you say louca.
How to say you miss your loved one in Portuguese
Tô com saudade = I miss you
Tô is short for Estou (present tense of the verb Estar). This is how we say the verb in everyday, informal conversations.
Sinto sua falta = I miss you
Literally, it translates to “I feel your lack”, which means I miss you. It’s a nice expression, isn’t it?
3 useful verbs in Portuguese for conversations around Valentine’s Day
Ganhar = to receive; to win; to earn
We are going to practice the verb Ganhar today in the context of receiving a gift. The verb also means to win, as in win a game. It also means to earn, as in to earn money.
Ganhar is a regular verb.
Here are some useful phrases with the verb ganhar:
1. O que você quer ganhar de presente no Dia dos Namorados? = What do you want to get as a gift on Dia dos Namorados?
2. Você quer saber o que vai ganhar de presente ou quer uma surpresa? = Do you want to know what you will get as a gift or do you want a surprise?
3. O que você ganhou no Dia dos Namorados? = What did you get on Dia dos Namorados?
Dar = to give
It is an irregular verb. It isn’t one of the easiest verbs to conjugate in Portuguese, but it is well worth the effort to learn it because we use the verb Dar in so many idiomatic expressions.
Below are useful phrases with the verb Dar in Portuguese:
1. O que você vai dar de presente para Maria? = What will you give as a gift to Maria?
2. O que você geralmente dá de presente no Dia dos Namorados? = What do you usually give as a gift on Dia dos Namorados?
3. O que você deu para o seu namorado? = What did you give your boyfriend?
Fazer = to make, to do.
Fazer also is an irregular verb worth learning. We use it often and it is in many idiomatic expressions.
Here are useful phrases with the verb Fazer:
1. O que você quer fazer no Dia dos Namorados? = What do you want to do on Dia dos Namorados?
2. O que vocês fazem no Dia dos Namorados? = What do you guys do on Dia dos Namorados?
3. O que vocês fizeram no Dia dos Namorados? = What did you guys do on Dia dos Namorados?
Fazer uma surpresa = To surprise someone
Uma surpresa = a surprise. Surpresa is a feminine noun.
Fazer uma surpresa = Literally, to make a surprise; this is the most common way we say to surprise in Brazil.
We also have the verb Surpreender. It also means to surprise. And also: to catch by surprise, to take by surprise.
When I talk about surprising my husband, my mom or a friend, I personally always say fazer uma surpresa.
Here are useful phrases for you:
1. Preparei uma surpresa para Ana. = I’ve prepared a surprise for Ana.
2. Estou planejando uma surpresa para comemorar o Dia dos Namorados. = I’m planning a surprise to celebrate Dia dos Namorados.
3. Paula me fez uma surpresa enorme no Dia dos Namorados. = Paula surprised me big time on Dia dos Namorados.
Sweet Words to Call your Loved One in Brazil
At Street Smart Brazil we often have the privilege to teach couples who are learning Portuguese together. A question that we always get is: “How do people call their boyfriend or girlfriend in Brazil? What kind of loving nicknames do they use?” Below is a list of common words for you ♥
The best way to choose a nickname for your love is to check with your Brazilian partner how he/she feels about it. What sounds sweet for one person can sound cheesy for someone else.
Some of these terms are in the diminutive form. It is not a matter of size or intensity. We often use diminutives in Brazil to express affection.
- Amor = love
- Meu amor = my love
- Amorzinho = literally: little love
- Mô = short for amor
- Mozinho = short for amorzinho
- Mozão = short for amorzão (big love)
- Paixão = passion
- Minha paixão = my passion
- Meu coração = my heart
- Gato/gata = literally: cat; colloquially: good looking, handsome, beautiful
- Querido/querida = dear, beloved, darling
- Meu bem = literally: my well
I am curious: Which of these words surprised you, if any? And what other terms of endearment have you learned in Portuguese? I would love to hear from you.
Editor’s note: This post was originally posted in June 2012 and has been updated with a video and additional phrases and vocabulary.
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Luciana, help! I am looking for the equivalent in English for the term “par de vazos” in Portuguese. Any suggestion? This is for my novel. (In case you know the answer, can I quote your name in the Acknowledgments part of my novel?) By the way, my mother tongue is Portuguese. Thanks!
Oi, Emilia. I don’t know this expression. Might be from Portugal?
DAVID E TONNER
In point # 11 for the terms of endearment at the end, I believe that you intended to write darling, not sarling.
Oops. Just fixed it. Obrigada 🙂
What other love expressions can I use to say to my girlfriend like I miss you, I want you, etc.
That is such a good question. Here are some expressions:
* I miss you = Estou com saudade de você.
* I miss you = Sinto sua falta. (Literally: “I feel your lack”)
* I want you = Te quero
* I think about you all the time = Penso em você o tempo todo
Thank you for the help also how can I distinguished some of the words used when talking to a male or a female person
There are rules. In general, words ending in “o” are masculine and words ending in “a” are feminine. But there are other rules and exceptions to the rules.
What are the other rules and exceptions to that?
I will publish a blog post about this on Tuesday. Check it out then!