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Five Famous Festivals

This Spanish All About Lesson you will learn about five of the more famous festivals in Spain and Latin America.

Sanfermines-”The Running of the Bulls”
This ten-day municipal festival in Pamplona, Spain is well known in the English-speaking world as the
“running of the bulls.” The festival commemorates Saint Fermin, a martyr and patron saint of the
participants, who dress in white with red scarves for the event.

Puente Guadalupe-Reyes - “Christmas Season”
Traditionally in the Spanish-speaking world, it is the Three Wise Men who mysteriously bring gifts to children on Epiphany, although some families also observe the Santa Claus tradition of gift giving on Christmas Day.

Semana Santa - “Holy Week”
Holy Week celebrations start on Palm Sunday and go through Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter
Sunday. In addition to having Holy Week off, most of the Spanish-speaking world has the following week off from work as well.

Día de los Muertos - “All Souls Day”
On the Catholic calendar, All Souls Day is celebrated on November second. It’s observed throughout
the Spanish-speaking world as el Día de los muertos. Spanish speakers offer prayers to deceased loved
ones and spend time in the cemeteries visiting, cleaning, and decorating tombs.

Carnaval - “Fat Tuesday”
Ash Wednesday in Catholic countries is the beginning of Lent: the forty-day season of fasting, prayer,
and solemn reflection. Therefore, the days leading up to Ash Wednesday have developed into a
festival of gluttony and excess. Many cities have celebrations involving masks, costumes, dancing, and
parades.

There are many more festivals in the Spanish speaking world, but here are a few just to start you off.

Five Things You Should Know About Spanish Speaking Cultures

The Focus of This Lesson Is Five Things You Should Know about Spanish-speaking Cultures.

1. The Kiss and the Handshake

  • In the Spanish-speaking world, women are always greeted with a kiss, both as a hello and as a good-bye. Sometimes this kiss is a peck on the check, but many times, it’s that kiss where you touch cheeks and kiss the air.
  • In general, you reach left for the first kiss; that is, it’s your right cheek that gets kissed first.
  • Men usually greet each other with a handshake rather than a kiss, both as a hello and a good-bye.

2. La hora latina

  • It is a widely held belief that Spanish-speakers always arrive late to events, even among Spanish speakers themselves. People often refer to this as la hora latina, meaning “Latino time.”
  • much of the Spanish-speaking world is developing; transportation and communication are not as reliable as in more developed countries. Delays are often unavoidable.
  • because everyone in the society is subject to the same delays, people in Spanish-speaking cultures tend to be forgiving about lateness.
  • There are certainly many Spanish speakers who view punctuality as a form of respect and who strive to be punctual in their daily lives.

3. Lunch Time

  • In the Spanish-speaking world, the midday meal is often the main meal of the day, every day of the week.
  • There is regional variation as to what Spanish speakers call this meal, but more often than not, they refer to it simply as la comida, meaning “the meal.”
  • The comida is often followed by la siesta, a customary mid-afternoon nap, which serves to both refresh people after a big meal as well as to keep people out of the sun during what is usually the hottest time of the day.

4. Regional Accents

  • Like every major language, Spanish has regional varieties that have arisen over the generations due to patterns of migration and isolation. In Latin America, people often label regional varieties costeño or serrano.
  1. The costeño dialects are characterized by the aspiration of syllables that end in -s. For example, someone speaking a costeño variety might say Hola, ¿cómo estás? [ola, komo ehtah].
  2. Serrano dialects tend to be found in mountainous regions, and their pronunciation of syllables that end in -s reflects a more conservative dialect of Madrid.

5. Flirting and Sexual Harassment

  • Culturally speaking, Spanish speakers tend to touch each other casually more than in North American, Northern European, or Asian cultures.
  • Compared to North Americans, Spanish speakers seem to have a more tolerant attitude toward unsolicited flirting, finding it flattering or humorous rather than threatening or disgusting.


Que Delicioso!

The cuisines of the Spanish-speaking world are as varied and diverse as they are delicious. If you haven’t tried these delicious dishes, we recommend you do!

If you are a meat lover, you should try “churrasco”, which in Latin America means “grilled meat”, and Argentinians are known for their love of savory steaks.

If you want to try and exotic and comforting dish, venture into Puerto Rico’s “mofongo,” a delicious dish of fried plantains and pork rinds, vegetables, meat, or seafood.

Also on the exotic side, unique technique of curing seafood with citrus juice rather than heat, ceviche, is also very delicious invented in Peru and elevated to an art form.

And while it’s difficult to pick one dish that represents the diversity and complexity of Spanish cooking, we recommend paella, the short-grain rice dish flavored with saffron. The classic paella of Valencia is made with escargot, meat, and vegetables. other popular versions are made with seafood or with meat and seafood.

Another very typical and accesible dish are tacos, from Mexico. There are different types, but we will feature los tacos al pastor, meaning “shepherd-style tacos,” made from pork that’s been marinated with spices and roasted with a hint of pineapple, making the meat tender and juicy.

Que delicioso! (How delicious!)
Venture into these culture’s rich offering in gastronomy, and tell us which was your favorite! You will surely not be dissappointed!

Test your knowledge!

Have you wondered how much you know about Spanish-speaking cultures?take this quiz!

Quiz:

1.  in which of these countries is Spanish not the official language?
A) Uruguay
B) Guatemala
C) Brazil
D) Perú

2.Out of the following 3 famous people, match “person” to “profession”:
PERSON: <Diego Armando Maradona>, <Alejandro Sanz>, <Hugo Chavez>
PROFESSION: <singer>, <politician>, <sports Star>

3. Which country has the most populated city?
A) México
B) Argentina
C) Spain
D) Colombia

4. TRUE or FALSE: The native populations and cultures of Latin America have left without a trace in the modern culture.

Answers:

1. C, Brazil. The Portuguese colonized Brazil, leaving that country with Portuguese as its official language.
2.  Hugo Chavez - Politician ; Alejandro Sanz - Singer; Diego Armando Maradona - Sports star
3. A, Mexico. Mexico City has a population of approximately 8,841,916!
4. False! The modern populations have many who descended from pre-Columbian ancestors, and to this day some indigenous languages are still spoken in Latin America!

How many did you get correct?

All About Spanish: Que Delicioso!

The cuisines of the Spanish-speaking world are as varied and diverse as they are delicious. If you haven’t tried these delicious dishes, we recommend you do!

If you are a meat lover, you should try “churrasco”, which in Latin America means “grilled meat”, and Argentinians are known for their love of savory steaks.

If you want to try and exotic and comforting dish, venture into Puerto Rico’s “mofongo,” a delicious dish of fried plantains and pork rinds, vegetables, meat, or seafood.

Also on the exotic side, unique technique of curing seafood with citrus juice rather than heat, ceviche, is also very delicious invented in Peru and elevated to an art form.

And while it’s difficult to pick one dish that represents the diversity and complexity of Spanish cooking, we recommend paella, the short-grain rice dish flavored with saffron. The classic paella of Valencia is made with escargot, meat, and vegetables. Other popular versions are made with seafood or with meat and seafood.

Another very typical and accesible dish are tacos, from Mexico. There are different types, but we will feature los tacos al pastor, meaning “shepherd-style tacos,” made from pork that’s been marinated with spices and roasted with a hint of pineapple, making the meat tender and juicy.

Que delicioso! (How delicious!)
Venture into these culture’s rich offering in gastronomy, and tell us which was your favorite! You will surely not be dissappointed!

All About Spanish: Test your knowledge!

Have you wondered how much you know about Spanish-speaking cultures?Take this quiz!

1.  In which of these countries is Spanish not the official language?
A) Uruguay
B) Guatemala
C) Brazil
D) Perú

2.Out of the following 3 famous people, match “person” to “profession”:
PERSON: <Diego Armando Maradona>, <Alejandro Sanz>, <Hugo Chavez>
PROFESSION: <singer>, <politician>, <sports star>

3. Which country has the most populated city?
A) México
B) Argentina
C) Spain
D) Colombia

4. TRUE or FALSE: The Native populations and cultures of Latin America have left without a trace in the modern culture.

Answers:
1. C, Brazil. The Portuguese colonized Brazil, leaving that country with Portuguese as its official language.
2.  Hugo Chavez - Politician ; Alejandro Sanz - Singer; Diego Armando Maradona - Sports star
3. A, Mexico. Mexico City has a population of approximately 8,841,916!
4. False! The modern populations have many who descended from pre-Columbian ancestors, and to this day some indigenous languages are still spoken in Latin America!

How many did you get correct?

All About Spanish: Fun times!

In par with the culture, festivals and holidays in the Spanish-speaking world are fascinating and lively! Here are some very famous festivities:

-Sanfermines-”The Running of the Bulls”
This 10-day festival in Pamplona, Spain, also features dancers, street performers, and actors in costumes.

-Christmas Season
Traditionally in the Spanish-speaking world, the Three Wise Men are who bring gifts to children, though nowadays most families follow the Santa Claus tradition.

-Semana Santa - “Holy Week”
Holy Week celebrations start on Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. Every community has a unique Holy Week celebration. Most of
the Spanish-speaking world has off days on Holy week and the following as well.

-Día de los Muertos - “All Souls Day”
On November 2nd, prayers are offered to deceased loved
ones and  tombs are visited, cleaned, and decorated. In Mexico, it
is celebrated with colorful festivities and festive decorations.

- Carnaval - “Fat Tuesday”
Before the period of Lent(a season of fasting, prayer,
and solemn reflection), beginning on Ash Wednesday, it is festival of gluttony and excess involving musics, costumes, and parades.

Did you know about these festivities, and have you ever participated in them?

All About Spanish: Learn this and kiss the confusion away!

The Spanish-speaking world has some unique aspects we would like to share with you. See if you are aware of these cultural bits!

1) Greetings
Have you noticed that usually, women are greeted with a kiss? And to avoid confusions, it is a general motion to let your right cheek get the kiss.

2) La hora latina
“Latino time.” It is believed that Spanish-speakers are always late, but there are cultural factors explain this tardiness. Many Spanish-speaking
countries’ transportation and communication system are not as reliable, making delays unavoidable;so people tend to be forgiving about lateness. However, this is a stereotype, as there are Spanish-speaking people that are often punctual as well.

3) Lunch Time
In the Spanish-speaking world, main meal of the day is at mid-day, “la comida,” (meaning “the meal”). It may begin as late as 2pm, and some shops and offices close as people enjoy their comida at home with family.

4) Regional Accents
Like every major language, Spanish has regional varieties, however, Spanish speakers often say “El español
es el español (”Spanish is Spanish”).

5) Flirting
People from Spanish-speaking cultures compared to others, can be more flirtatious in public. Flirting is seen as flattering or humorous rather than threatening or disgusting.

All About Spanish: Win the Spanish Grammar Challenge!

Unlike English, Spanish sentences are not so dependent on word order. Instead, Spanish uses a system of suffixes and particles to help mark the subject and object. Spanish verbs’ tense suffixes, for example, carry information about the person and number of the subject. This system of verb tense suffixes is called “conjugation,” and though it sounds challenging, don’t give up!  After learning to conjugate, Spanish becomes a smooth sail!

It is important to remember the following points: gender and number.

“Gender” - Spanish nouns fall into two categories, “feminine” and “masculine” .
Generally, feminine nouns end in an”  -a “vowel, and masculine nouns end in an ” -o” vowel.

“Number” - Check if the noun is singular or plural.
Usually, plurals end with an ” -s”.

Furthermore, adjectives and articles in Spanish reflect the gender and number of the items that they modify. This is called “agreement.”  If you remember how to keep your agreements flowing smoothly, you will be speak just like a native! Surprise Spanish speakers by keeping to these rules of Spanish, which the speakers are aware of might be difficult for learners, and your efforts won’t go unappreciated!

All About Spanish: The Spanish Alphabet

Spanish and English are cognate languages; that is, many words in Spanish sound and look similar to their English equivalents. Because of these cognate words, and because of the similarity in alphabets, learners of Spanish can often guess the English equivalents of a Spanish word with a high degree of accuracy, and vice versa.

The Spanish writing system is based on the Roman alphabet,though some features are specific to Spanish, like the letter -ñ (as in Español!) , as well as the digraphs -ch, -ll, and -rr, which we traditionally analyze as single letters.

In addition to these peculiarities, a few Spanish words carry a written accent to distinguish homonyms, as in “él”  (definite article “el” vs. subject pronoun “él”).

Thankfully enough, the Spanish alphabet is very similar to English and you will probably have no trouble with is small differences. Do keep in mind though, that missing these marks can lead to some confusion and even change the meaning of your sentence.
For example, “uña” (fingernail)  and “una” ( the article “a̶ ;) are distinguished only by the “ñ”, though context can make it apparent which one you are using.

Either way, it is important to keep your eyes open and identify them, and you will be well on your way to becoming an expert in Español!