Christmas has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we’re done talking about it! Now that the holidays are over and you’re seeing your friends and coworkers, you’re probably talking about what you did. We want to give you vocabulary to talk about la Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve, and la Navidad, or Christmas Day. These words will help you share how you spent your time off. In addition, you can ask what someone else did, or even better understand holiday videos you see online.
La Nochebuena and La Navidad common traditions
First, you’ll notice that the Spanish-speaking world likely has different holiday traditions than you do. Every country and region has different foods and customs. For example, you’ll see Spaniards snacking on turrón, but your Mexican friends might prefer buñuelos.
In some countries, it’s chilly outside during Christmastime, but in the southern hemisphere, it could be warmer. This affects what different cultures do for dun during the holidays, and what foods they make.
That being said, there aren’t too many common traditions that all Spanish-speaking countries celebrate because of how different every country’s culture is. We’ll give you vocabulary to help you be able to communicate some of the most popular holiday traditions, but we’d love for you to let us know more that you do in the comments!
First, let’s take a look at verbs in the past to talk about what you did in the past. If you’re talking about an action that has a set start and end point, or happened just once, you’re going to want to use the preterite tense. However, if you’re talking about things you used to do when you were younger, you’ll want to use the imperfect tense. If you want to talk about what you do habitually, you’ll use the present tense. It’s totally fine if you need a little refresher on the preterite vs. imperfect or the present tense!
Now, here are some foods you might want to talk about:
- Las galletas– cookies
- El pollo– chicken
- El arroz– rice
- El pescado– fish
- La rosca de reyes– a cake that looks like a crown, eaten on 3 Kings Day (Jan 6)
- El pan– bread
- El jamón– ham
Next, here is some vocabulary around different activities that you or your friend might have participated in:
- El nacimiento– nativity scene (it literally means “birth”, but for Christmas, it refers to the birth of Jesus)
- Miso de Gallo– Midnight mass
- Los reyes magos– The 3 Kings/ The 3 Wise Men
- Amigo secreto– Secret friend gift exchange (often called “Secret Santa”)
- Los regalos– presents
- La nieve– snow
We hope these words help you communicate and share your favorite holiday traditions!