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Celebrations form an integral part of the human experience and therefore when learning a new language it is equally as important to know how to express sentiments of happiness and well wishes. Wishing someone a happy birthday is an easy way to communicate that you care about their wellbeing and happiness and want a happy life for them going forward. This is no different in the Spanish language, in a culture and language known for its expressive vibrancy, Spanish speakers all around the world have found equally fantastic and meaningful ways to wish loved ones a happy birthday. One of the most common ones we’ll review today is one you’re probably already familiar with “feliz cumpleaños”, the direct translation of which would be “happy birthday”. Much like in the English culture Spanish speakers also have a corresponding song to be sung to commemorate the momentous occasion. Alongside this, this vibrant culture considers birthdays a day of love and therefore take the occasion to shower the birthday boy/girl with plenty of affection to show them that they’re appreciated. This article will take a look at the birthday celebratory traditions of one of the world’s happiest and most jovial cultures.
Espanol & English
The next time you hope to wish your Spanish speaking friend a happy birthday use the table below to craft a meaningful and heartfelt birthday message.
Writing a birthday card in Spanish
Craft a heartfelt birthday message for your loved ones using the example below:
- Feliz cumpleaños a ti, que cumplas muchos más viajes alrededor del sol y que todos tus deseos se hagan realidad – Happy birthday to you, may you have many more trips around the sun and may all of your wishes come true.
A look into Latin American VS Spanish Culture
As stated previously, many cultures worldwide have birthday traditions that are quite similar, however part of what makes us so interesting as a species are the various and distinct differences between our cultures. Some of these differences are born from historical events, some from superstitions and others from amalgamations of the two, understanding where these traditions stem from means taking a deeper look into the complex and interesting history of these regions and countries.
In the following section, we’ll be looking at some distinctly different traditions such as the songs sung on birthdays for each culture as well as a few shared traditions including gifting, culinary trends and the best ways to celebrate these momentous occasions.
Latin American Culture:
- For many usually, the birthday spectacle begins in the early hours of the morning with what is known as the morning serenade or “Las Mañanitas”. Although many Spaniards stick to the well known “Feliz Cumpleaños”, Latin Americans usually sing “Las Mañanitas” or have it performed by a mariachi band in the early hours of the morning as well as during the cake cutting portion of the celebration.
- The smacking of a piñata with a stick is another important event. Originally holding deep religious significance for both Spaniards and Mexicans, today the hitting of the piñata with the designated stick has become more synonymous with Mexican celebratory culture. However, both cultures still embrace this oldest of traditions by battering the piñata with the assigned stick, signaling that love destroys all sin with the candy raining out symbolizing the start of a new beginning for the birthday boy or girl.
- Food plays an important role in many cultures, in Latin American culture its birthday based calling card is the Tres Leches cake, with its history rooted in England the cake has since been adopted by Latin Americans worldwide as the official birthday cake of its nation.
To gain a deeper historical understanding of the importance of the Tres Leches cake visit this article.
- In Spain as well as Mexico birthdays are considered days of love to be spent with those closest to you so the aim might not be to have a huge party as one would expect. Actually, there is more importance placed on the time spent with friends and loved ones and sharing this love, conversation and as well as generally having a good time together.
- Often another way of showing appreciation is the giving of gifts, however in the Spanish culture thoughtfulness is the order of the day, and less so the monetary value of the gift. Usually, the more personal a gift is the more appreciated it is.
- Although both Spanish cultures have traditions that are specific to their regions are also many that are celebrated across the board, one of these include the tradition of the Quinceañera, this is a party thrown to signify the coming of age for the birthday boy/girl. A significant tradition, this celebration occurs once the child in question turns 15. This party generally begins with a religious ceremony in a church and ends in a banquet hall in a huge celebration with friends, family and plenty of food.
- Another shared tradition is the completion of the la mordida ritual. Usually, the birthday boy/girl has their hands tied or held behind their back while their face is shoved into a tres leches as the family chants “Mordida! Mordida!” while they take the first bite of the birthday cake***.***
Being able to celebrate a birthday with a loved one is something we could all appreciate a lot more. Through this deep dive into Spanish and Latin American Cultures and traditions we hope that you’ve learned a few more thoughtful and meaningful ways to convey your sincere feelings to the people in your life. The Spanish language offers speakers boundless methods to express themselves in a deeper way. Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand the traditions that make Spanish and Latin American celebrations so special and has interested you in learning more about the cultures, people and languages celebrated under this umbrella of warmth and love.
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