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Archive for the 'Spanish Holidays' Category

Día del Trabajo: Celebrating Labor Day in Mexico

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On Labor Day, Mexico both commemorates the events leading up to the implementation of the Mexican Constitution of 1917 and takes a day off from the same-old-same-old of work. In this article, you’ll learn more about the origins of this holiday, how to celebrate Labor Day in Mexico, and some useful vocabulary!

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Labor Day?

A Laborer Carrying Something Heavy

On the Labor Day holiday, Mexico reflects on the history of labor in the country and celebrates the 1917 Constitution that allowed for better workers’ rights.

For many years (particularly in the late nineteenth century), Mexican workers faced the plight of poor working conditions, lower wages than their American counterparts, a lack of respect, and the inability to advance their careers based on skill or merit.

This eventually led to a revolt called the Cananea Strike, which took place in the June of 1906. In this huelga (“strike”), which took place in the mining town of Cananea, Sonora, Mexican workers made several basic demands (such as fair wages and respectful treatment from superiors)—none of which were met before they were forced to continue working. Twenty-three people were killed during the strike, which came under martial law from Arizona Rangers.

In 1907, another strike occurred at the Rio Blanco textile store. Workers complained about poor working conditions and a corrupt system. This led to many more deaths, with the Rio Blanco store being burned and several protesters shot dead or imprisoned by the Mexican Federal troops.

Not long after, the Mexican Revolution took place, and the Mexican Constitution was put into place in 1917. The first official Labor Day celebration was in 1923.

    → Study our Jobs vocabulary list to learn the name of several different occupations in Mexican Spanish!

2. When is Labor Day in Mexico?

A Calendar Page that Shows May 1

Each year, Mexicans celebrate Labor Day on 1 de mayo (“May 1” ) with the rest of the world (except the U.S., which celebrates on the first Monday of September).

3. How Does Mexico Celebrate Labor Day?

A Group of Workers Going on Strike

Because Labor Day is a public holiday, schools and the majority of businesses are closed.

The Labor Day holiday in Mexico is an opportunity for workers to take time off from their empleo (“job” ) and spend time with loved ones. Many people enjoy going out and doing things, such as seeing a movie, eating out at a nice restaurant, or shopping. There are also many parades and similar festivities that people can take part in. In addition, some people put on a manifestación (“demonstration” ) to protest for more workers’ rights or better work conditions.

Depending on when May 1 takes place, there may be an entire Labor Day weekend in Mexico. Of course, this gives workers even more time away from work and with their family or friends. It’s a great opportunity to go on a weekend trip away from home!

On Labor Day, Mexico City, in particular, is likely to be filled with activity, and it’s a great place to find a variety of delicious restaurants and interesting shops. For Mexico City, Labor Day weekend is a good opportunity to help boost the economy. 😉

4. Modern-Day Strikes

In Mexico, strikes still happen pretty frequently.

According to Mexican labor law, employees have every right to go on strike; during a so-called “legal strike,” the business affected isn’t allowed to hire replacement workers or continue business as usual.

However, this same labor law allows the Board to make the call on whether or not a strike is technically happening. In many cases, the Board decides there’s no actual strike and so allows the affected business to continue running with replacement workers.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Labor Day in Mexico

A Wallet with Money Sticking Out

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Labor Day in Mexico!

  • Salario — “Salary” [n. masc]
  • Trabajador — “Worker” [n. masc]
  • Día del Trabajo — “Labor Day” [masc]
  • Huelga — “Strike” [n. fem]
  • Trabajo — “Work” [n. masc]
  • Empleo — “Job” [n. masc]
  • Jornada laboral — “Working time” [fem]
  • 1 de mayo — “May 1”
  • Manifestación — “Demonstration” [n. fem]
  • Obrero — “Laborer” [n. masc]

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Labor Day in Mexico vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Labor Day in Mexico with us, and that you took away some valuable information.

Do you celebrate Labor Day in your country? If so, how do your traditions and history compare to those of Mexico? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you want to learn even more about Mexican culture and the Spanish language, you may enjoy the following pages on SpanishPod101.com:

This is just the tip of the iceberg. For even more fantastic Spanish-learning content, create your free lifetime account on SpanishPod101.com today. You can also upgrade to our Premium or Premium PLUS plans, which give you access to exclusive content and features to learn Spanish faster!

Happy Labor Day, and good luck learning! 🙂

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Semana Santa: Celebrating Holy Week in Spain

Semana Santa, or Holy Week in Spain, is a Christian holiday season widely celebrated throughout the country. This holiday has a long history in Spain, and traditions today are a mix of the old and new.

In this article, you’ll learn what the most important holy days of this week represent, how the Spanish celebrate Holy Week as a whole, and more facts about Spanish Holy Week.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Holy Week?

In Spain, Holy Week is a major celebration period that starts on Palm Sunday and ends the day before Easter. Thus, this week is composed of six very important days for Christian Catholics in the country. However, four of these days tend to be more fervently celebrated than the others:

  • Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos). This holy day is observed in celebration of Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem a week before his Resurrection from the dead (Easter).
  • Holy Wednesday (Miercoles Santo). People observe this holy day in commemoration of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.
  • Good Friday (Viernes Santo). On this holy day, people in Spain commemorate the passion and death of Jesus.
  • Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua). This is the day on which Jesus is said to have been resurrected.

Later in this article, we’ll go over what Holy Week traditions in Spain look like for each of these holy days.

2. When is Holy Week in Spain?

A Silhouette of a Man Kneeling and Praying in Front of a Cross

The start and end dates for Holy Week vary from year to year. For your convenience, here’s a table of this holiday’s start and end dates for the next ten years.

Start Date End Date
2020 April 5 April 11
2021 March 28 April 3
2022 April 10 April 16
2023 April 2 April 8
2024 March 24 March 30
2025 April 13 April 19
2026 March 29 April 4
2027 March 21 March 27
2028 April 9 April 15
2029 March 25 March 31

3. How is Holy Week Celebrated in Spain?

A Large Easter Sunday Meal

The Four Most Important Days and Traditions

As mentioned earlier, there are four days during the week which are considered the most important. Thus, most of the major celebrations take place on these days.

On Palm Sunday, people bring palm or olive branches to the church to be blessed in commemoration of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem. Because Holy Wednesday commemorates Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, citizens in some parts of Spain wear black robes and hoods, carrying percussion instruments to fill the day and night with the sound of drums. On Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ passion and death, people put on representations of the Vía Crucis, or “Stations of the Cross.” Further, meat consumption is forbidden on this day.

The most important of these holy days is that of Easter, or Pascua. In some regions of Spain, people paint colorful eggs, while others perform more traditional rituals such as burning straw dolls.

Food and Cuisine for Holy Week

For Holy Week in Spain, traditions often involve food. The traditional Holy Week cuisine is known for its austerity, though there are a few common dishes such as garlic soup or salted cod. Cod is used to make croquettes, doughnuts, and fritters; another popular dessert is the Easter cake.

Holy Week Parades and Processions

Perhaps the most spectacular celebrations for Holy Week take place in southern Spain. This is where massive, well-funded parades are put on by the brotherhoods for all to see. If you happen to watch one of these parades, the big conical-shaped hats may get your attention right away. These are called capirotes, and they originated in the Inquisition. The Catholic Church used to put a similar type of hat on the condemned during the Middle Ages, except it had paintings on it that denoted a person’s crime or punishment.

Another thing you can expect to see is a Spanish Holy Week procession. During such a procession, Nazarenes, bearers, and penitents go forth. The Nazarenes are believers who wear robes that denote the color of their brotherhood, the bearers are those who carry the heavy figures on their shoulders and neck, and the penitents are believers who mortify themselves in some way in order to remove themselves from guilt or to ask favor.

4. Good Luck

For Holy Week, Spain has a fascinating trick for getting good luck. Do you know what it is?

Wear something new! This is a very well-known custom, and there’s even a proverb that says: “On Palm Sunday, he who does not wear something new, does not have hands.”

It doesn’t matter so much what type of clothing you wear, as long as it’s new.

5. Essential Holy Week Vocabulary

A Procession for Holy Week

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important Spanish words and phrases for Holy Week!

  • Viernes Santo — “Good Friday”
  • Pascua — “Easter”
  • Semana Santa — “Holy Week”
  • Procesión — “Procession”
  • Vía Crucis — “Stations of the Cross”
  • Resurrección — “Resurrection”
  • Domingo de Ramos — “Palm Sunday”
  • Jueves Santo — “Holy Thursday”
  • Sábado Santo — “Holy Saturday”
  • Domingo de Pascua — “Easter Sunday”
  • Crucifixión — “Crucifixion”
  • Palmón — “Palm”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Spanish Holy Week vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Spain’s Holy Week with us, and that you took away some valuable cultural information.

Do you celebrate Holy Week in your country? If so, are celebrations similar or quite different from those in Spain? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you’re fascinated with Spanish culture and just can’t get enough, we recommend that you check out the following pages on SpanishPod101.com:

That should be enough to quench your thirst for cultural knowledge for a little while, but for even more great learning resources, create your free lifetime account today. SpanishPod101.com has tons of fun and effective lessons for learners at every level, so there’s something for everyone.

We look forward to having you! 🙂

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Día de la Bandera: Celebrating Mexican Flag Day

D�a de la Bandera: Celebrating Mexican Flag Day

On Mexican Flag Day (Dia de la Bandera), the people of Mexico celebrate their country’s flag and the aspects of independence it depicts. This is a significant holiday in Mexico, and one draped in colorful symbolism.

In this article, you’ll learn about National Flag Day, Mexico’s gradual victory toward independence from Spain, and more fun facts about the Flag of Mexico. Let’s get started!

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1. What is National Flag’s Day in Mexico?

In Mexico, National Flag Day is a day set aside to honor the Mexican Flag. This holiday has its origins in 1935, when a Bank of Mexico employee (Benito Ramírez) set up a special honor guard to celebrate the Flag of Mexico. Five years later, in 1940, National Flag’s Day became an official holiday at the bidding of then-President Lázaro Cárdenas.

In addition to the Flag of Mexico itself, people commemorate the events leading up to Mexico’s independence from Spain and the Plan of Three Guarantees that came along with this independence. The Mexican Flag is central to these themes, with each of its three colors representing one of the guarantees and other aspects of Mexico’s freedom. (We’ll go more into detail about Mexico’s flag later!)

2. Mexican Flag Day’s Date

Mexican Flag Waving in the Air

Each year, Mexicans honor their country’s flag on February 24, which is the date in 1821 that the Iguala Plan came into effect and the end of the War of Independence was signed.

3. The Mexican Flag Day Celebration

People Holding Hands in Unity

In Mexico, Flag Day celebrations aren’t very elaborate, and because this is not a public holiday, many people still need to go to work and school on this day. While there aren’t many Mexican Flag Day activities, some people are still able to enjoy watching the military raise a giant Mexican Flag in celebration.

If you happen to be in the country on February 24, Mexican Flag Day, expect to see the streets and buildings decorated with a sea of Mexican Flag colors.

    → Interested in learning more about celebrations and festivities in Spanish-speaking countries? Check out this lesson by SpanishPod101!

4. The Mexican Flag – Colors and Symbolism

As you probably know, the Mexican Flag colors are green, white, and red. Do you know what they stand for, though?

Well, when the flag was first created, the meanings were a little bit different than they are today.

1821 Today
Green (Verde) Independence from Spain Hope (Esperanza)
White (Blanco) Catholicism Purity (Pureza)
Red (Rojo) Unity and Equality Blood (Sangre)

The first set of color meanings directly relates to the Three Guarantees mentioned earlier. These guarantees were that Mexico would: be independent of Spain, claim Catholicism as its religion, and live in unity and equality with each other (and with the Spaniards in Mexico).

Curious about the design? The Mexican Flag’s design features an eagle standing on top of a cactus while eating a snake. It might sound pretty weird, but it’s based on a story about Aztecs who stumbled upon a similar scene and, believing it to be a sign from the gods, decided to build their empire in that very spot.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Dia de la Bandera

Mexico’s National Coat of Arms

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words for Mexican Flag Day!

  • Sangre — “Blood”
  • Águila — “Eagle”
  • Día de la Bandera — “National Flag’s Day”
  • Verde — “Green”
  • Blanco — “White”
  • Rojo — “Red”
  • Esperanza — “Hope”
  • Bandera — “Flag”
  • Escudo de armas — “National coat of arms”
  • Unidad — “Unity”
  • Símbolo — “Symbol”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Mexican National Flag’s Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Dia de la Bandera with us, and that you learned something new today. What does Flag Day look like in your country? What does your country’s flag mean? Tell us about it in the comments!

Mexican culture is colorful and unique. If you’re interested in learning even more about it, check out the following pages on SpanishPod101.com:

Whatever your reasons for developing an interest in Mexican culture or the Spanish language, know that SpanishPod101.com is the best way to expand your knowledge and improve your skills. With tons of fun lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and more advanced students, there’s something for everyone!

Create your free lifetime account today, and start learning Spanish like never before.

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Epifanía: Celebrating Epiphany Day in Spain

Epiphany Day in Spain is one of the most popular Christian holidays in the country. Each year, it’s met with an abundance of enthusiasm and many colorful traditions. In this article, you’ll learn about the Epiphany celebration in Spain as well as the stories behind the holiday.

At SpanishPod101.com, it’s our goal to ensure that every aspect of your language-learning journey is both fun and informative—starting with this article!

Ready? Let’s dive in.

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1. What is Epiphany in Spain?

On Epiphany Day, Spain celebrates the visit of the Reyes Magos, or “Biblical Magi,” from the Orient to the newborn Baby Jesus. They brought him gold, incense, and myrrh as gifts.

Some people also celebrate Epiphany as the day on which Jesus was baptized, thus “revealing” the Holy Trinity. Hence the name “Epiphany.”

Both of these events are essential aspects of the Christian faith and gospel, making Epiphany a major religious holiday around the world. However, the Epiphany holiday in Spain does tend to focus more on the wise men.

2. Epiphany Date

Biblical Magi Figurines

Each year, the Feast of Epiphany in Spain is celebrated on January 6. The night before is called Epiphany Eve, the night when children in Spain have difficulty sleeping due to their excitement over the presents they’ll soon open!

3. How Do They Celebrate Epiphany in Spain?

A Parade

During the late evening, in many towns and cities, the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, or “Magic Kings Parade,” makes its way through the streets. These are made up of carriages where both children and adults in costumes participate. The most important carriages are always the ones in which we see the three wise men. Candy and even some small toys are thrown from all the carriages. Children and others who are not so young try to grab as much as they can.

Once the desfile, or “parade,” is over, the children return home. On that night, children go to bed early because if the three wise men see that the child is awake, they won’t leave any gifts. Before going to sleep, it’s important to prepare something to drink and some pastry or candy for the three wise men, who arrive tired after the long trip. It’s also good to leave some water for the camellos, or “camels.” And after a night where many children can barely get any sleep because of the anticipation…it’s time to open the regalos, or “presents!”

The parade of the three wise men in Granada is the oldest Epiphany parade in Spain. The tradition dates back 100 years, and a total of ten tons of candy are given out during the parade.

4. They Know if You’ve Been Bad or Good…

Do you know what children who behaved badly during the year normally get on Epiphany Eve?

It seems that Santa Claus and the three wise men agreed on this because they also give coal to children who misbehave. But receiving it doesn’t seem to bother the children. Most of the time, it tastes like candy. 🙂

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Epiphany in Spain

A Camel

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words we saw in this article? Here’s the essential Spanish vocabulary for Epiphany!

  • Regalo — “Present”
  • Familia — “Family”
  • Epifanía — “Epiphany”
  • Camello — “Camel”
  • Desfile — “Parade”
  • Paje — “Page boy”
  • Melchor — “Melchor”
  • Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos — “Magic Kings parade”
  • Tarta de Reyes — “King cake”
  • Gaspar — “Gaspar”
  • Carbón — “Carbon”
  • Baltasar — “Baltasar”
  • Reyes Magos — “Biblical Magi”

To hear each of these words pronounced, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Spanish Epiphany vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Epiphany in Spain with us!

Do you celebrate Epiphany in your country? If so, are celebrations similar or very different from those in Spain? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning more about the culture in Spanish-speaking countries, or if you want to learn some wintery words to get you through the next couple of months, you may find the following pages useful:

Learning Spanish doesn’t have to be overwhelming or boring—with SpanishPod101.com, it can even be fun! If you’re serious about mastering the language, create your free lifetime account today.

Happy Spanish learning! 🙂

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Día de la Constitución: Constitution Day in Spain

The current Constitution of Spain went into effect in 1978, setting certain changes in motion for the country. In this article, you’ll learn about what those changes are, what happens on Constitution Day in Spain, and more fun facts about the Constitution of Spain!

Understanding a country’s history and culture is essential is being able to master its language. And at SpanishPod101.com, we believe that learning Spanish should be both fun and informative—starting with this article!

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

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1. What is Constitution Day in Spain?

The courts approved the 1978 Constitution on October 31, a referendum approved it on December 6, and the King signed and proclaimed it on December 27. It went into effect on December 29.

The promulgation of the Constitution led Spain into a point of transition, which took place as a result of the death of the former head of state, general, and dictator, Franco, on November 20, 1975. His death sparked major changes that resulted in the previous Franco Regime transforming into a democratic one, under the political form of a parliamentary monarchy.

Here are some fun and interesting facts about the Spanish Constitution for you:

  • The Spanish people approved it with 87.7% “yes” votes.
  • It’s one of the most extensive constitutions of the European Union, with 169 items.
  • The 1978 Constitution used both old Spanish ideas and those from Italy’s 1948 Constitution and Germany’s 1949 Constitution.
  • In its 41 years of existence as of 2019, Spain has only reformed its Constitution twice.

The Constitution can be revised at any time, but this is very complicated—much more so than in other countries (though in Germany and France, the Constitution can’t be changed). Italy, for example, has already amended its Constitution thirty-seven times!

Another fun fact: Camilo José Cela, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, not only helped to correct the grammar of the Constitution, but was also present in the discussions that were held before its implementation, actively participating.

2. When is Constitution Day?

The Spanish Flag

Each year, Spain celebrates its Constitution Day on December 6.

3. How Does Spain Celebrate Constitution Day?

The Constitution Day celebrated in Spain doesn’t usually have many events, though in schools, children may study the Constitution and some of the most important articles.

On Constitution Day, Spain’s most significant event is the Congress of Deputies holding an open session for the public in the Palace of the Courts. It’s considered one of the most emblematic buildings of the nineteenth century. People visit several of the rooms, radio and television broadcasts are made, and each visitor receives a small souvenir.

4. La Pepa

Palace of the Parliament

Do you know what the first Constitution enacted in Spain is commonly called?

The Constitution of 1812 is known as la Pepa, since it was enacted on the day of San Jose. As explained in the video for Father’s Day, people named Jose are also called Pepe. The population welcomed the Constitution to the cry of ¡Viva la Pepa!

5. Must-Know Spanish Vocabulary for Constitution Day

King’s Crown

Here’s some essential vocabulary for you to memorize so you can talk about Constitution Day in Spanish!

  • Publicar — “Publish”
  • Gobierno — “Government”
  • Conmemorar — “Commemorate”
  • Nación — “Nation”
  • Democracia — “Democracy”
  • Monarquía — “Monarchy”
  • Rey — “King”
  • Reina — “Queen”
  • Gobernar — “Govern”
  • Jornada de puertas abiertas — “Open house”
  • Palacio de las Cortes — “Palace of the Parliament”
  • Constitución — “Constitution”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced and to read them alongside relevant images, visit our Spanish Constitution Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

What are your thoughts on Spanish Constitution Day? How do you celebrate your country’s Constitution Day? Let us know in the comments; we always love hearing from you!

This holiday represents a marked transitional period for Spain, but there’s still so much more to know! If you’re interested in more cultural or historical information on Spain or other Spanish-speaking countries, you may find the following pages on SpanishPod101.com useful:

Learning Spanish doesn’t have to be a boring or overwhelming task—with SpanishPod101, it can even be fun! If you enjoyed this lesson and are serious about learning Spanish, create your free lifetime account today!

Happy Spanish learning! 🙂

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Tomato Fight: Spain’s La Tomatina Festival

During La Tomatina, Spain’s citizens throw tomatoes at each other. This Tomato Fight in Spain takes place every year, and has a rather fascinating origin story. In this article, you’ll learn several La Tomatina facts to increase your cultural knowledge. And maybe you can convince your country to start a tomato-throwing festival… 😉

At SpanishPod101.com, we hope to make this learning journey both fun and informative. So let’s get started!

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1. What is La Tomatina?

As for the La Tomatina history, the Tomatina Festival began in 1945, when a parade for another festivity called the “Feast of Giants and Big-Heads,” refused to allow certain young people to take part in it. This led to a fight between the young people and the parade directors. At some point, one of the young people fell down, and the others took advantage of a vegetable stand nearby; they all began hurling tomatoes at each other, until police finally came to end the dispute. Those involved had to pay for the damage.

Today, this momentous and rather ridiculous event is commemorated as the La Tomatina Festival.

2. When is La Tomatina Festival?

Big Tomato

The date of La Tomatina varies each year, as it takes place on the last Wednesday in August. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: August 28
  • 2020: August 26
  • 2021: August 25
  • 2022: August 31
  • 2023: August 30
  • 2024: August 28
  • 2025: August 27
  • 2026: August 26
  • 2027: August 25
  • 2028: August 30

3. La Tomatina Traditions

People Throwing Tomatoes at Each Other

The celebration begins the night before. Paellas are prepared in the square and everybody drinks wine. Early the next morning, all retailers with stores in the Plaza are busy protecting their doors and windows.

At ten o’clock in the morning, the “soap stick” occurs. It involves climbing a slippery pole, which has been greased, to reach a ham that’s been put up on top. The start signal is given when someone takes down one of the hams. At this time, trucks fill the plaza with tomatoes. From here, the fight ends at a specified time.

Certain rules have been established by the Town Hall to prevent any altercations. Most importantly, only tomatoes can be thrown. Another rule is that you cannot rip the shirts off of the other participants. They also ask that tomatoes be crushed, so that they don’t cause any damage when thrown. It’s also important to be careful and keep away from the trucks carrying tomatoes toward the square.

One should bear in mind that when the second shot is heard, everyone should stop throwing tomatoes. Also, for safety reasons, it’s recommended to wear glasses and gloves.

4. The Tomatoes

Do you know where the tomatoes that are used in La Tomatina come from?

The tomatoes come from Xilxes Castellón. These cost far less money and are grown in fact specifically for these celebrations, since they are not good enough to eat.

5. Useful Vocabulary for La Tomatina

Tomatina

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Tomatina in Spain!

  • Camión — “Truck”
  • Rojo — “Red”
  • Tomate — “Tomato”
  • Gigante — “Giant”
  • Gente — “People”
  • La tomatina — “Tomatina”
  • Lucha de tomate — “Tomato fight”
  • Palo jabón — “Greasy pole”
  • Buñol — “Buñol”
  • Cabezudo — “Big head puppet”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Tomatina vocabulary list!

How SpanishPod101 Can Help You Master Spanish

What do you think of La Tomatina? A unique and wildly entertaining holiday, no? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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If you prefer a one-on-one learning approach, or want to give it a try, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own personal teacher and a personalized learning plan based on your needs and goals.

Whatever your reason for learning Spanish, know that your hard work and determination will pay off. You’ll be speaking, writing, and reading Spanish like a native before you know it! And SpanishPod101.com will be here with you on each step of your journey to language mastery.

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Running of the Bulls: San Fermin Festival in Spain

Each year, the Spanish celebrate La Fiesta de San Fermin (or the “San Fermin Festival”). Known in particular for its Running of the Bulls tradition, the Fiesta de San Fermin is one of the most iconic Spanish holidays!

Learn some fascinating Running of the Bulls facts, including which American writer helped popularize it, with SpanishPod101.com! In learning about this fun, traditional Spanish holiday, you’re allowing yourself to see more layers of Spanish culture. And as successful Spanish learner can tell you, knowing a country’s culture is vital in mastering its language!

Let’s get with it, and start learning about the San Fermin Spain is so famous for.

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1. What is San Fermin?

To start, where is the Running of the Bulls and the San Fermin festival? The Festival of San Fermin, or Sanfermines, is held in Pamplona, the capital of Navarre, in honor of San Fermin. However, the actual identity of San Fermin and his place in history are vague and not well known.

As far as Running of the Bulls facts, this event actually commemorates the persecution of Saturninus, a man loosely involved in Fermin’s coming to Christianity. Saturninus died being dragged by a bull he was tied to.

Do know who has done the most to increase the fame of San Fermin?

It was the American writer Ernest Hemingway, through his book Fiesta (also called The Sun Also Rises). The future Nobel Prize winner first came to Pamplona accompanied by his first wife in 1923. He was so deeply impressed by the San Fermin festival, that he repeated the trip several times.

2. When is the Running of the Bulls?

A Bullfight

The Running of the Bulls date each year begins on July 6 and continues until July 14.

3. Reading Practice: Running of the Bulls & San Fermin Festival

Do you know how Spain celebrates the San Fermin Festival? Read the Spanish text below to find out, and find the English translation directly below it.

El comienzo de San Fermín lo marca el chupinazo, desde el balcón del ayuntamiento de Pamplona. Así se le llama al cohete que es lanzado el 6 de julio. El acto más conocido es sin duda los encierros, del 7 al 14 de julio. Consisten en conducir una manada de toros a las ocho de la mañana desde los corrales de Santo Domingo hasta la plaza de toros. Es un acto muy peligroso, pero en él se reúnen miles de personas que vienen de todo el mundo. Desde 1922 se ha registrado la muerte de 15 personas.

Como en otras muchas fiestas españolas la música y los fuegos artificiales no pueden faltar. Otro símbolo muy emblemático son Los Gigantes de Pamplona, con sus 153 años de historia. Son unas figuras de madera, cartón y tela acompañados de los llamados kilikis, cabezudos y zaldikos. Juntos forman la Comparsa y hacen un total de 9 salidas durante los sanfermines.

Con lo peligrosos que pueden llegar a ser los encierros no extraña que los participantes canten a san Fermín por su protección. Esto se hace en la cuesta de Santo Domingo, que es donde se inicia el encierro, 5, 3 y 1 minuto antes. Desde 2009 se canta tanto en castellano como en euskera.

The chupinazo marks the beginning of San Fermín from the balcony of the Town Hall of Pamplona. This is the name of the rocket that is released on July 6. The best-known event is undoubtedly the Running of the Bulls, from July 7 to 14. This consists of driving a herd of bulls at eight in the morning from the pens of Santo Domingo to the plaza de toros. It is a very dangerous act, but thousands of people come from all over the world to take part in it. Since 1922, fifteen deaths have been recorded.

As in many other Spanish festivals, music and fireworks are a must. Another very emblematic symbol is the giants of Pamplona, which boast a 153-year history. They are figures of wood, cardboard, and fabric, accompanied by the so-called cabezudos, kilikis, and zaldikos. Together, they form the troupe, and they make a total of nine outings during the San Fermin festival.

Considering how dangerous the runs can be, it’s no wonder that the participants sing to San Fermin for his protection. This is done on the hill of Santo Domingo, which is where the run begins, five, three, and one minute before. Since 2009, the singing has been done in both in Spanish and in Basque.

4. Most Popular San Fermin Foods

Fireworks Going Off

As far as food goes, the holiday begins with a hot cup of caldico, made with veal and chicken, which is given out in front of the Town Hall. After the run, one recovers their strength with a very hot cup of chocolate with churros.

Halfway through the morning, after contemplating the dances of the Giants or participating in the procession of the Saint, it’s a good time to have lunch with some tapas of lean meat with tomatoes or fried eggs, with sausage and peppers stuffed with cod.

Snacks in the bullring, consisting primarily of peñas, are a good example of home cooking.

5. Vocabulary to Know for the San Fermin Festival

Two Glasses of Wine

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for the San Fermin holiday in Spain!

  • Vino — “Wine”
  • Novillo — “Young bull”
  • Encierro — “Running of the Bulls”
  • Estruendo — “Roar”
  • Pañuelo rojo — “Red neckerchief”
  • Cornada — “Goring”
  • Fuegos artificiales — “Firework”
  • Multitud — “Crowd”
  • Chupinazo — “Firecracker shot”
  • Corrida de toros — “Bullfight”
  • Toro — “Bull”
  • Tapa — “Bar snack”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our San Fermin vocabulary list!

Conclusion

What do you think of the San Fermin festivities in Spain? Did you learn anything new about this holiday? Let us know in the comments!

To continue learning about Spanish culture and the language, keep exploring SpanishPod101.com. We provide fun and practical learning tools for every learner, including free Spanish vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one! We also host an online community where you can talk with fellow Spanish learners, or reach out for help!

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Know that your hard work will pay off, and you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing Spanish like a native before you know it!

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How to Celebrate Corpus Christi in Spain

Corpus Christi is one of the most significant holidays in Spanish culture for Christians. In fact, there’s a popular saying: “There are three Thursdays during the year that shine brighter than the Sun—Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi, and the Ascension Day.”

By learning about Corpus Christi traditions and its links to the Eucharist and The Last Supper, you’re gaining insight into a good chunk of Spanish culture. The Corpus Christi holiday is just one example of the strong religious nature of the country and its people, leaving room for you to continue delving into the unique facets that Spanish holidays host.

At SpanishPod101.com, we hope to make this learning adventure both fun and informative!

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1. What is Corpus Christi?

On Corpus Christi, Spain celebrates the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body of the Lord. It was the religious Santa Juliana of Liège, who proposed this Festival at the beginning of the thirteenth century because of her devotion to this sacrament.

Thus, it was celebrated for the first time in 1246 in the Diocese of Liège, Belgium. Pope Nicolás V, in the celebration of the year 1447, managed to consolidate it when he came out with the sacred host in the procession through the streets of Rome.

2. Corpus Christi Date by Year

Depiction of the Last Supper

The date of the Corpus Christi holiday (Spain) varies each year, as it takes place sixty days after Easter. For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: June 20
  • 2020: June 11
  • 2021: June 3
  • 2022: June 16
  • 2023: June 8
  • 2024: May 30
  • 2025: June 19
  • 2026: June 4
  • 2027: May 27
  • 2028: June 15

3. Reading Practice: Corpus Christi Celebrations in Spain

How is Corpus Christi celebrated in Spain? Read the Iberian Spanish text below learn about the Corpus Christi festival (Spain), and other Corpus Christi celebrations. You can find the English text directly below it.

El Corpus Christi es la mayor fiesta de Toledo. Las calles de la ciudad, que han sido especialmente decoradas, son recorridas por un desfile. Sobresalen la Custodia, una valiosa obra de orfebrería de 1515 realizada en oro y plata, y el cortejo, compuesto por las distintas hermandades. Al desfile le acompaña además un olor especial, porque antes se habrá cubrido el suelo con hierbas aromáticas. Son también típicos un conjunto de gigantes que representan a los continentes y la monstruosa Tarasca. Es una figura mecánica de un gran dragón que asusta a los niños echándoles agua.

La localidad de Puenteareas, en Pontevedra, celebra en el fin de semana siguiente al jueves de Corpus Christi sus fiestas más conocidas. En la noche del sábado al domingo, los vecinos de la localidad crean alfombras florales con motivos religiosos relacionados con el día de Corpus Christi y adornados con motivos geométricos. Se utiliza para esto distintos tipos de flores y materiales. Estos habrán sido preparados por los vecinos durante los días anteriores. Las alfombras permanecen intactas hasta la procesión del día siguiente, en la que se recorren todas las calles decoradas.

Corpus Christi is the biggest festival in Toledo. The streets of the city, which have been specially decorated, are traversed by a parade. Highlights include la Custodia, a valuable work of jewelry from 1515 made of gold and silver, and the procession, composed of the different brotherhoods. The parade is accompanied by a special fragrance, because the ground is covered by aromatic herbs ahead of time. A set of Giants representing the continents and the monstrous Tarascan are also typical of this festival. The latter is a mechanical figure of a great dragon that scares children by spraying them with water.

The town of Puenteareas, in Pontevedra, celebrates its best-known festivals during the weekend following Corpus Christi. On the Saturday night, the residents of the town create floral carpets with religious motifs related to the day of Corpus Christi and decorated with geometric motifs. Different types of flowers and materials are used for this purpose. These have been prepared by residents during the previous days. Carpets remain intact until the next day’s procession, in which all the decorated streets are paraded through.

4. La Tarasca: What’s in Season?

Bread and Wine

Do you know what’s shown during the procession of the Corpus in Granada?

It’s La Tarasca, a mannequin that supposedly wears the clothing that will be in fashion that season. It parades through the city mounted on a fierce dragon. The costume that it’s wearing is kept secret until it comes out.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Corpus Christi

A Holy Sacrament

Here’s the most important vocabulary you should know for Corpus Christi in Spain!

  • Sangre — “Blood”
  • Cristo — “Christ”
  • La Última Cena — “Last Supper”
  • Celebrar en honor a — “Celebrate in honor of”
  • Devoción — “Devotion”
  • Santísimo Sacramento — “Holy Sacrament”
  • Eucaristía — “Eucharist”
  • Solemnidad — “Solemnity”
  • Peregrinación — “Pilgrimage”
  • Litúrgico — “Liturgical”
  • Corpus Christi — “Corpus Christi”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Corpus Christi vocabulary list. Here, each word is accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think about Spain’s variety of Corpus Christi celebrations? Does your country observe Corpus Christi too, and if so, are celebrations similar or very different? Let us know in the comments! We look forward to hearing from you.

To learn more about the culture in Spain and the Spanish language, visit us at SpanishPod101.com! We provide practical learning tools for every learner to ensure that anyone can master Spanish, including insightful blog posts like this one and free Spanish vocabulary lists on various topics. We also offer a community forum where you can chat with fellow Spanish learners, and by upgrading to Premium Plus, you can begin learning Spanish one-on-one with your own teacher through our MyTeacher program!

Regardless of your reason for learning Spanish, know that with enough determination and an open mind, you can start speaking like a native before you know it!

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Feliz Dia de la Madre: Celebrate Mother’s Day in Spain!

¡Feliz Dia de la Madre!

Mother’s Day, or Dia de la Madre, is a deeply significant holiday in Spain. Take, for instance, the following information:

A study was done in 2012 about the role of European mothers. The psychologist responsible for the Spanish case said that “the Spanish mother has become the administrator of the household and is the fundamental pillar of the family structure.”

A surprising fact was learning that they dedicate only thirty-nine minutes to themselves, versus fifty minutes for the rest of European mothers. The study also showed that fifty-three percent consider the hug to be the best demonstration of gratitude, even ahead of helping with the household chores.

What better day than this celebration for Spanish mothers to be able to receive from their family, and from society, the recognition they deserve. And in Mother’s Day, Spain does just this.

At SpanishPod101.com, we hope to make learning about Mother’s Day both fun and insightful. From Spanish Mother’s Day gifts to Mother’s Day flowers, Spain celebrates similarly to the rest of the world, but with its own flair. Let’s learn more about the significance of the mother in Spanish society and her special day!

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1. What is Mother’s Day in Spain?

It’s said that this festival’s origin is from the tribute that was made to the mother of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon in Greek mythology, Rea. The Romans adopted it, but the Catholics were the first to call it Mother’s Day in honor of the Virgin Mary.

In seventeenth-century England, they celebrated the Sunday of Mothers. Children attended mass and then gave some presents to their mothers. The English colonists tried to keep the celebration alive in the United States, but it was eventually abandoned.

It was in 1914 when it was established as an official celebration following a campaign organized by Anna Marie Jarvis.

Around the world, Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate one’s mother and other motherly figures in their life. This is often done through gift-giving or doing nice things for them.

2. When is Mother’s Day in Spain?

Mother's Day is on a Sunday

The date of Mother’s Day varies from year to year, though it always falls on the first Sunday of May. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: May 5
  • 2020: May 3
  • 2021: May 2
  • 2022: May 1
  • 2023: May 7
  • 2024: May 5
  • 2025: May 4
  • 2026: May 3
  • 2027: May 2
  • 2028: May 7

3. Reading Practice: How is Dia de la Madre Celebrated?

Mother Receiving Affection from Children

How is Mother’s Day celebrated in Spain? Read the Spanish text below to find out, and find the English translation directly below it.

Lo cierto es que las costumbres de este día en España no son muy diferentes a las del resto del mundo. Las flores, sobre todo claveles o rosas, los bombones y las manualidades que los niños preparan en clase, las encontramos en cualquier país. Grandes comidas familiares y regalos también forman parte de la tradición. No son pocos los que creen, por este motivo, que detrás de esta fiesta hay grandes intereses comerciales.

Como en el resto de países existen ciertos regalos que es bastante típico hacerles a las madres. No es de extrañar que ante la aparente falta de originalidad hayan surgido últimamente multitud de sitios web españoles que al acercarse estas fechas proponen originales ideas para regalar.

The truth is that the customs of this day in Spain are not very different from those in the rest of the world. Flowers, especially carnations or roses, chocolates, and crafts that children prepare in class, are found in every country. Large family meals and gifts are also part of the tradition. For this reason, there are many who believe that there are great commercial interests behind this celebration.

As in other countries, there are certain gifts that are commonly given to mothers. It is no wonder that with the apparent lack of originality, numerous websites have appeared in Spain that suggest original ideas for gifts as this date approaches.

4. Additional Information: Original Date of Spanish Mother’s Day

Do you know when this day was previously celebrated in Spain?

Initially, it was celebrated on December 8, the day of the Immaculate Conception and the date that is observed worldwide by the Catholic Church. However, over time the date was changed to the first Sunday in May. This was also done in Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, South Africa, and Romania.

5. Must-know Vocab

Gift Certificate

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Mother’s Day in Spain!

  • Cena — “Dinner
  • Domingo — “Sunday”
  • Hijo — “Son”
  • Hija — “Daughter”
  • Rosa — “Rose”
  • Regalo — “Present”
  • Madre — “Mother”
  • Chocolate — “Chocolate”
  • Amar — “Love
  • Celebrar — “Celebrate”
  • Desayuno en la cama — “Breakfast in bed”
  • Felicitación — “Greeting card”
  • Cheque regalo — “Gift certificate”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Mother’s Day in Spain vocabulary list, where you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts on Spanish Mother’s Day? Does your country have similar celebrations and traditions, or very different ones? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Spanish culture and the language, visit us at SpanishPod101.com. There’s something here for every learner, from insightful blog posts to an array of vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Spanish learners! If you haven’t yet, you can also check out our MyTeacher program, which gives you the opportunity to learn Spanish one-on-one with your own personal teacher.

Learning a new language and becoming knowledgeable in its country’s culture is a huge feat and one that you won’t regret. Your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Spanish like a native! SpanishPod101.com will be here to support you on your way there!

Until next time, Feliz Día de la Madre (“Happy Mother’s Day” in Spanish)!

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Carnaval in Spain: How to Celebrate the Spanish Carnival

In 2010, the Cádiz Carnivals were considered to be one of the ten treasures of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Spain. According to some historians, the origin of this festival, which usually lasts three days and in which people dress up in costumes, dates back to ancient Egypt and Sumer, about 5,000 years ago.

Thus, you can see how the Spanish Carnival is an integral part of Spain’s culture. Let SpanishPod101.com show you all the interesting facets of the Spanish Carnival, including the famous burial of the Sardine and more Spanish Carnival facts!

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1. What is Spanish Carnival?

In Spain, Carnival is a time of feasting and celebration before the Lent period of fasting. This is a holiday long celebrated throughout history, and the concept is common throughout the world—that of indulgence and fun before the fasting begins.

From Spanish Carnival masks to an array of exciting dances, the Spanish Carnival is quite the celebration. Indeed, the Carnival of Spain is not something to be missed!

2. When is it?

Large Group of People

The date of the Spanish Carnival season varies each year as it depends on the date of Easter. For your convenience, here’s this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: March 4
  • 2020: February 24
  • 2021: February 15
  • 2022: January 31
  • 2023: February 20
  • 2024: February 12
  • 2025: March 3
  • 2026: February 16
  • 2027: February 8
  • 2028: February 28

3. How is it Celebrated?

Two People Dancing

Learn about how the Spanish Carnival is celebrated by reading the Spanish text below (you can find the English translation directly below it).
—–
Aunque dura oficialmente 11 días, los ensayos, concursos y actos gastronómicos consiguen que el ambiente de carnaval dure cerca de un mes. De Cadiz son conocidísimas las chirigotas. Son agrupaciones músico coral que canta principalmente por las calles ofreciendo coplas humorísticas. Es típico en estas fechas ver los concursos de estas y otras agrupaciones por televisión.

El Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife es otro de los más populares. En esta fiesta se disfruta de más de una semana de música, baile y disfraces. A estos días le preceden otros en los que tiene lugar la presentación de las candidatas a Reina. También los diversos concursos de murgas infantiles y adultas, que tienen su origen en las chirigotas gaditanas. Se realiza al final el Entierro de la Sardina. Consiste en un desfile que parodia un cortejo fúnebre y culmina con la quema de una figura, normalmente representando a una sardina. Se celebra tradicionalmente el miércoles de Ceniza.

En el Carnaval de Gran Canaria se celebran dos galas de gran fama. Una en la se que elige la Reina y otra en la que se elige al Drag Queen del Carnaval. La fiesta comienza con el pregón del Carnaval. Un acto muy esperado también es la Gran Cabalgata del sábado siguiente a la Gala de elección de la Reina y del Drag Queen.

En Solsona cuenta la leyenda que enviaron un burro a comer la hierba del campanario de la catedral. Decidieron subirlo colgado del cuello y el animal vació en este momento la vejiga sobre el público. Hoy se sigue recordando en sus carnavales esto con la ‘Colgada del burro’… aunque el animal es de cartón-piedra y peluche, y relleno de agua.
—–

Though they officially last 11 days, gastronomic events, competitions and rehearsals make the atmosphere of Carnival last about a month. From Cádiz, the “chirigotas” are extremely well known. They are musical choir groups who sing mainly in the streets, offering humorous verses. It is typical on these dates to see the contests between these and other groups on television.

The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is another of the most popular ones. At this celebration you can enjoy more than one week of music, dancing and costumes. These days are preceded by others in which the presentation of the candidates to the throne of the Queen takes place. There are also different contests for children’s and adults’ bands of street musicians, which have their origin in the Cadiz Carnival. These are held at the end of the burial of the sardine. That consists of a parade that parodies a funeral procession and culminates with the burning of a figure, usually representing a sardine. This is traditionally celebrated on Ash Wednesday.

In the Gran Canaria Carnival, two very famous galas are held: one in which the Queen is chosen and another in which the Drag Queen of the Carnival is chosen. The celebration begins with the proclamation of the Carnival. Another highly anticipated event is a parade held on the Saturday following the election of the Queen and Drag Queen.

In Solsona the legend has it a donkey was sent to eat the grass of the bell tower of the Cathedral. The people decided to lift it by hanging it from the neck, at which time, the animal emptied its bladder over the crowd. Today this is still remembered at its Carnivals with the “hanging of the donkey”… Although the animal now is papier-mâché, plush, and filled with water.

4. Additional Information

However, there are many other places in the country where Carnival leaves a different mark, a more ritual one. In these places, the celebration is focused on rural and indigenous communities, in Spanish “comunidades indígenas,” where the participants take over the streets and rejoice in the music, dancing, regional masks, and costumes or “disfraces”. These aspects combine to transform the celebration into a more locally traditional affair.

The Carnival of Morelos is one of the ones that best preserve this local tradition. Here, the most popular dance is the chinelos’ dance, or “danza de los chinelos”, a dance which has been preserved with few changes for more than a century.

A “chinelo” is a comical representation of the Spanish colonial people. These Spanish Carnival costumes are fantastically vivid—long robes of velvet and multicolor layers, palm hats covered with black velvet that extend upward, decorated with fretwork, flowers, drawings and feathers; and masks with a white complexion and rosy cheeks, blue eyes, a mustache and pointy beard. You certainly won’t forget seeing these Spanish Carnival costumes!

The celebration starts with the procession of the chinelos, who begin by doing a few dances. Upon arriving at the plaza square, they begin to jump up and down, hopping on their tiptoes. The dancers jump energetically, spinning around, and continue for hours until it’s time for the “fireworks,” or fuegos artificiales, and popular dance.

5. Must-know Vocab

Carnival Queen Image

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Spanish Carnival season!

  • Abarrotado — “Crowded”
  • Bailar — “Dance”
  • Carnaval — “Carnival”
  • Desfile — “Parade”
  • Disfraz — “Costume”
  • Reina del carnaval — “Carnival queen”
  • Entierro de la sardina — “Burial of the Sardine”
  • Máscara — “Mask”
  • Confeti — “Confetti”
  • Celebración — “Celebration”

If you want to hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, visit our Carnival in Spain vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Wow! What do you think of the Carnival in Spain and Mexico? Do you celebrate Carnival or a similar holiday in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

To learn even more about Spanish culture and the language, visit us at SpanishPod101.com. We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and even an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Spanish learners. Further, you can check out our MyTeacher program if you’re interested in a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Spanish teacher!

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Carnival Spanish holiday and that you took something valuable away from this lesson. Keep up the hard work and you’ll begin to speak like a native in no time, and be a master of the culture!