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Archive for the 'Spanish Holidays' Category

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!

To continue learning about Spanish culture and the language, explore SpanishPod101.com! We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner:

  • Insightful blog posts on an array of cultural and language-related topics
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  • Much, much more!

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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!

To make the most of your learning, upgrade to Premium Plus and begin learning Spanish with our MyTeacher program! This allows you one-on-one access to your own Spanish teacher, who will be there to help and guide you all throughout your language-learning journey.

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!

“Log

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!

Dia de la Candelaria: How to Celebrate Candlemas in Mexico

Candlemas

In the very Catholic Mexico, many celebrate the religious holiday known as Candlemas (or Dia de la Candelaria in Spanish). By learning about this holiday, you’re also immersing yourself in one of the most important aspects of Mexican culture: its people’s religious beliefs, and how they’re expressed through celebration.

So, what is Candlemas Day in Mexico? What are the most common Mexican holidays and traditions surrounding this holiday? Learn more about the significance of the Nativity scene in this holiday and more, with SpanishPod101.com.

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1. What is Spanish Candlemas?

Candlemas in Mexico may be best known as the day that Mexicans finally take down the Nativity scene that they put up before Christmas. This is a very religious holiday, and is also known as the day of the “Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.”

This name takes root in the biblical book of Luke, and also commemorates the cleansing of the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to Jewish custom, a woman must be cleansed about a month after giving birth and so Candlemas is thought to be the approximate time Mary would have done so.

2. When is it?

Calendar

Mexicans celebrate Candlemas forty days after Christmas, February 2, each year.

3. How is it Celebrated?

Celebration

On Dia de la Candelaria, Mexicans take down the Nativity scene that they set up before Christmas. Further, many people will dress up figures of the baby Jesus to be blessed once at the iglesia, or “church.” This blessed figurine Jesus is then placed somewhere to dwell for the rest of the year, sometimes with a family who’s then expected to open their home to any visitors for that period of time.

Another common tradition is the gathering of family and friends to feast together, particularly on tamals, or “tamales.” During this fiesta, or “party,” many Mexicans also make a special bread called rosca, which is shaped like a wreath and contains a figurine of the baby Jesus baked inside of it. A fun tradition centering on this is that the person who finds this figurine is the one to dress the Baby Jesus that will be blessed.

Sometimes this Baby Jesus is a relic possessed by the family for many generations, making it a very sentimental aspect of the holiday. However, other families go out and buy a new one if they don’t already have one. Regardless of how long this Baby Jesus figurine has been in the family for, its blessing at the church is one of the most important things that will happen all year and is greatly relished by the family as a whole.

While feasting, they also like to drink something called atole, which has a corn base and is typically served hot or warm. This beverage is certainly fitting to the comfort and warmth that Dia de la Candelaria holds.

There are some places in Mexico that really go all out with Candlemas celebrations, complete with bull fights and special parades to enjoy.

4. Additional Information

The Nativity scene, or in Spanish Nacimiento, is a representation of Jesus Christ’s birth. They’re always set up prior to Christmas, traditionally on December 8, according to the celebration of the Conception; they stay up until February 2, the day of Candlemas.

Under the Mexican tradition, Nativity scenes represent Mary and Joseph with clay figures in a manger or a “stable,” or establo, joined by a “mule,” or mula, and an “ox,” or toro. The scene can also include other figures to adore the Christ child, such as “shepherds,” or pastores, “angels,” or ángeles, and the “star of Bethlehem,” or estrella de Belén.

There are Nativity scenes of all shapes and sizes. Some people put up extravagant ones, with cascades, rivers, lakes where ducks swim, shepherds and their flocks of sheep, and many other characters who attend to offer gifts to Baby Jesus. These gifts often include pots, hens, vegetables, and fruits.

Some of these Nativity scenes are mobile, where the figures are moved around from day to day according to what happens in the biblical events; shepherds are moved, and the “Three Wise Men,” or Tres Reyes Magos, draw near the manger as the Epiphany draws near.

5. Must-know Vocab for Candelario in Mexico

Finally, once Candlemas arrives, these Nativity scenes are taken down to make way for the Candlemas celebrations!

Candlemas Day

Here’s some vocabulary you should know to celebrate Mexican Candlemas Day to its fullest! Be sure to study these in order to improve your Spanish vocabulary and pronunciation.

  • febrero — “February”
  • bebé — “baby”
  • madre — “mother”
  • vela — “candle”
  • iglesia — “church”
  • atole — “atole” (a drink served in Mexico, usually served hot or warm, with a corn base)
  • Virgen María — “Virgin Mary”
  • tamal — “tamal”
  • fiesta — “party”
  • Candelaria — “Candlemas”
  • rosca — “rosca” (a type of bread shaped like a wreath, with a baby figurine inside of it and candied fruit on top)

To hear the pronunciation of each word as well, be sure to check out our Spanish Candlemas vocabulary list. Each word is accompanied by an audio file with the word’s pronunciation.

Conclusion

You’ve learned a lot about how Mexicans celebrate Dia de la Candelaria, particularly the significance of the Nativity scene and the blessing of the Baby Jesus figurine.

Do you celebrate Candlemas in your home country, or a holiday like it? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Mexican holidays and traditions, and its culture in general, visit us at SpanishPod101.com. We offer an array of vocabulary lists and blog posts, and we even host an online community where you can discuss topics you’re learning with fellow students. And if you want a more one-on-one approach to your learning, you can download our MyTeacher app!

Make your account today and start learning Spanish efficiently and with a flair of fun!

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How to Say Happy New Year in Spanish & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Spanish New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join SpanishPod101 for a special Spanish New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Spanish

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Spanish? Let a native teach you! At SpanishPod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Spanish New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in Spain
  2. Must-Know Spanish Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Spanish
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How SpanishPod101 Can Help You Learn Spanish

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Spanish New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in Spain

Let’s talk about a day full of excitement, wishes, and resolutions for the Spanish people. It is called “Noche Vieja” (”New Year’s Eve“), and it is the last night of the year, the one that marks the beginning of a new year. This holiday does not stop until the next day, January 1.

Do you know why there is a tradition of eating grapes on New Year’s Eve? Keep reading and you will find out at the end!

Before midnight, it is common to have a big dinner, similar to Christmas, with all the family. On the television, all programs show New Year’s specials. The best comedians and most famous celebrities participate in these specials. Musical concerts are also common, from current and in-vogue singers, to those known by grandparents, parents and children.

As 12 o’clock approaches, you can feel the excitement. The bowls are prepared, and it’s confirmed that each contains twelve grapes. The most traditional place to eat grapes is La Puerta del Sol in Madrid. But nowadays, it is done in all cities, and it’s also common to eat them at home, in front of the television. You hear the bells chime every year. And…ton, ton! It’s finally time to eat the first grape, the second…but be careful! Every year, there are cases of choking.

Once the New Year starts, it’s normal to congratulate, hug and toast with all the family. In those toasts, it is normal to put a gold ring into a glass to attract money. From this moment on, the phone lines will be overloaded and everybody will send and receive congratulatory messages and phone calls from friends and family members. After that, it is common to go out into the street, or to a pub or nightclub. And then it’s time to celebrate until you can no longer stand!

It is normal on this day to wear new clothes for the first time, but not only that! It is also tradition to wear a new set of underwear for New Year’s Eve. Normally, it will be yellow in color if you want to attract money, or, more often, red, if you want to attract love.

And now, the answer to the earlier quiz.

Do you know why there is a tradition of eating grapes on New Year’s Eve?

It seems this tradition doesn’t have any religious or cultural motivations; it is actually economical. On New Year’s Eve of 1909, the grape harvesters had had a big harvest of grapes, and because of this, they invented the tradition of eating the lucky grapes on the last night of the year.

Happy New Year!
¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

2. Must-Know Spanish Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Spanish Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year

Año

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in Spain could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

Medianoche

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

Día de Año Nuevo

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

You can do it!

4- Party

Fiesta

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

Baile

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

Champán

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

Fuegos Artificiales

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

Cuenta Regresiva

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

Vacaciones de Año Nuevo

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

Confeti

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

Noche Vieja

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

Brindis

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

Propósitos de Año Nuevo

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

Desfile

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At SpanishPod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Spanish New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

So, you learned the Spanish word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at SpanishPod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Spanish friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

Leer más.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Spanish in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Spanish language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

Pasar más tiempo en familia.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

Bajar de peso.

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

Ahorrar dinero.

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to SpanishPod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

Dejar de fumar.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

Aprender algo nuevo.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

Beber menos.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

Ejercitarse regularmente.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

Comer saludable.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Spanish with SpanishPod101

Estudiar Español con SpanishPod101.com

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Spanish, especially with us! Learning how to speak Spanish can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. SpanishPod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Spanish new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Spanish, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Spanish incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with SpanishPod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Spanish could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Spanish - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Spanish - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with SpanishPod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Spanish! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that SpanishPod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Spanish at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Spanish that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Spanish with SpanishPod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish

How to Say Merry Christmas in Spanish

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish? SpanishPod101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Spanish Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Spanish speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, SpanishPod101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Mexico
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How SpanishPod101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in Mexico

Christmas Words in Spanish

One of the most special days for Mexican families is Christmas or “Navidad”. As most of you probably already know, this is the holiday held in celebration of the birth of Jesus. During the Christmas season, all the streets in Mexico become filled with light and decorations. Like the streets, the houses also undergo a complete transformation, and the whole family usually helps in the process.

People in Mexico, like much of the rest of the Christian world decorate a Christmas tree, or in Spanish, “árbol de Navidad”, and place a present for each family member under it. They also typically put up a nativity scene, depicting Jesus’s birth.

Houses are cleaned until they are spotless and ready to receive all the family members, including some they maybe haven’t met up with all year. Families come together to prepare food and enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner, or “cena de Navidad”. During December 24, all families are busy cooking up a storm, the result of which they will eat over the course of the following two to three days. The most typical dishes are “romeros” (rosemary with mole sauce and pork), “bacalao” (salted fish cooked with vegetables and spices), “pierna” (marinated pork baked in the oven), and shrimp soup.

Dinner is often served at 12am, then the presents are opened one by one and shown to the rest of the family, and there is also joking, drinking and enjoying the time spent together as a family.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

¡Feliz Navidad!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

¡Feliz Kwanzaa!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

¡Que tengas un feliz año nuevo!

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

¡Feliz Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

Que tengas unas vacaciones invernales fantásticas

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

¡Nos vemos el próximo año!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

¡Mis mejores deseos!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Spanish Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

¡Felices vacaciones!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Spanish, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

¡Disfruta las vacaciones!

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Spanish, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

¡Mis mejores deseos para el año nuevo!

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Spanish! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At SpanishPod101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

Navidad

This is the Spanish word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Spanish will include this word!

2- Snow

Nieve

In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake

copo de nieve

Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman

hombre de nieve

As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey

pavo

Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath

ramo de Navidad

Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer

reno

Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

Papá Noel

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf

elfo

An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rodolfo el reno de nariz roja

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

Polo Norte

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled

trineo

A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present

regalo

Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell

campana

On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney

chimenea

The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace

chimenea

In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

Día de Navidad

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration

decoración

Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

calcetín de Navidad

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly

acebo

Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

pan de jengibre

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

bastón de caramelo

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe

muérdago

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Spanish, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Spanish! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

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So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in SpanishPod101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

Spanish Culture - Asuncion – Spanish

Ascuncion means “Assumption,” in the English Language and refers to the Spanish celebration of Assumption Day of Mary. The Spanish call that day, “Assumption of the Virgin.”

The view of Assumption Day holds true to the fact that Mary, the mother of Jesus died and her body was united with her soul and ascended to heaven instead of experiencing the decay of the physical body through normal death.

The Assumption of Mary became a reputable custom and teaching in the Roman Catholic Church even throughout the seventh century. It continues to be a theological disagreement of historical tendency and the church has not entirely embraced the concept or idea.

There are still some misgivings today if Mary died before her Assumption or if she was assumed before her death. The Roman Catholic consent to these two beliefs and consider it to be one or the other. The Assumption of Mary is thought of as a gift from God to those who believed that Mary was the “Mother of God.”

The Spanish people celebrate it also on August 15th and for the entire month of August it is not uncommon to find most businesses closed down. On that day, transportation is limited and people take the time to spend with family and friends.

If you are a tourist visiting at that time, there is almost nothing to do on that day because all museums and other activities have been put on hold.

Spanish people view their public holiday as rich in culture and festivity. They will go all out to prepare a feast of festivals and entertainment to enjoy and solidify their belief in Assumption Day.

The practicing Roman Catholics in the Spanish speaking countries in the world, but especially Spain, also call this day the “Feast of the Assumption” and do embrace the belief that Mary did indeed ascend to heaven without a physical death.

The Spanish people take pride in their cultural cuisine and spend this time preparing meals to celebrate the day in honor of the Virgin Mary. It is customary to cook full course meals and bring the family together on this day as an indication of solidarity in their beliefs.

To celebrate Assumption Day, Spanish people love to watch their favorite mystery play called “El Misteri d’Elx” on the 14th and 15th of August.