Christmas…that wonderful time of the year!!!

Well hello again…are you already going crazy with all the end of the year events? As I am not at home this year, I am more relax.

Last Sunday, Dec 7th, I met my Latins friends from School to a celebrate a Colombian holiday tradition. This made me wonder about how do Latin American countries celebrate Christmas. Lets start with our usual list:


Christmas in Argentina is very warm. I would never forget the Christmas were the thermal sensation was 50°C, way to warm!! In my country, on December 8th, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, most of the houses get decorated with Christmas trees and garlands hanging on the doors. We gather together with part of our family on Christmas Eve (either mother side or father side) to have dinner and wait until 12pm to welcome Papa Noel (Santa Claus). Papa Noel brings gift for everyone in the family, but Kids are the ones that usually receive more. Our dinner menu varies from home to home, some people have barbeque while others have different cold dishes like Vitel Toné, Russian salad and Waldorf salad. For example, for me it isn’t Christmas if I am not eating my aunt Silvia’s Vitel Toné. On December 25th we usually gather with the other side of the family. Some gather for lunch others for dinner. Last but not least, people usually spend Christmas’ eve and Christmas’ day with their family, while New Year’s eve is spend with friends and/or family.



Christmas celebrations in Colombia begin in early December with a ceremony in honor of the Virgin Mary. On the evening of December 7th, families light scores of candles and use them to outline streets, sidewalks, and parks around the cities. December 8th brings a national holiday commemorating the Immaculate Conception during which more prayers and candles are offered to the Virgin Mary. Christmas trees are decorated on December 16th with the start of the Novena, which in Colombia involves a nine-day prayer ritual with a rosary in anticipation of Christmas day. During this time of celebration of Christ’s birth, groups of families and friends, often including an entire village or neighborhood, will gather together each night to pray. Villancicos, better known as Christmas carols, are also sung around the nativity scene that plays a significant part of Colombia’s Christmas celebrations. Most Colombians attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve before returning home for dinner. The Christmas meal often includes a special chicken soup called Ajiaco, homemade breads, fritters, roast port and natilla, a corn-based dessert. Presents are brought by “El Niño Jesus” to the foot of children’s beds by the next morning, and after a relaxing day spent with family, the Christmas season is complete. (



The Christmas season begins on December 16th. Mexican households are decorated with flowers, evergreens and colored paper lanterns. A nativity set (Pesebre) is also set up in the house. The pesebre or El Nacimiento is the focal point of the household’s Christmas celebration. Pesebre can be as simple as three figures making up the holy family or as complex as the entire city of Bethlehem. Each night a procession (Las Posada) commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph and their search for lodging for the night. In some areas, groups of villagers (Santos Peregrinos) or Holy pilgrims assemble each night. Carrying candles and chanting songs, they go from house to house looking for lodging. At every house the pilgrims are refused. When they have finished the procession they return home to kneel at the Pesebre.

After prayers are said, a party (Fiesta) is held. Children from the procession are blindfolded in turn, spun around and given three chances to break a suspended decorated earthenware pot (Piñata), The piñata is filled with nuts, fruit and candy. When it is broken the children scramble to pick up the spilt goodies. (

To learn more about his tradition you can also visit:



Christmas in Venezuela puts a bit of Hispanic flair into the holiday by adding religious ceremonies and festivals to it. The religious celebrations for Christmas begin on December 16. This day is marked with mass services that churches hold in the morning, and these masses are celebrated every day until the 24th. These masses are called Misas de Aguinaldo.

One tradition that is pretty peculiar for celebrating Christmas in Venezuela is for people in Caracas to roller skate to attend mass services. Streets close to cars until 8 in the morning, and children are put to bed earlier than usual to give them enough strength for getting up early to attend mass the next day. At the end of the mass, people go out and eat tostados and drink coffee.

On December 24th, Venezuelans celebrate Nochebuena. The midnight mass that’s held on this night called Misa de Gallo. The whole family attends this service and they go home to sit and enjoy a huge fancy dinner.

Families gather not only to eat but also to thank Jesus for this special Christmas night, La Navidad. Beforehand families get together to prepare traditional Christmas dishes. (


It is time to say goodbye! I want to thanks to my latins friends that provided me with all the information needed to write this blog. I specially want to thank María Mercedes Grajales, Brenda Hernández and José Rivas for the photos they provided to include in this post.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2015!!!

It’s been a real pleasure!




Let’s talk about Sports!!!!

It is very common to believe that in almost every country of Latin America the national sport is football. The real one you know, not the American football. This one (sorry my Mexicans friends, I just love this goal):

In fact, that is not true. Despise we breathe football in most parts of Latin America, some countries have a different national sport declared by law. Below I list a few.

Argentina: Pato (Duck). This sport is played on horsebacks and combines elements from Polo and Basketball. The game is called Pato as in the early days a duck was used instead of a ball.


Brazil: I need to include Brazil in this post because even though they don’t speak Spanish we do share the passion for sports. Brazil’s national sport is Capoeira.  Capoeira is a martial art that combines elements of dance and acrobatics.


Chile: Chilean Rodeo. This sport is different from the American rodeo. In the Chilean rodeo a team (2 persons) on horseback ride laps around the arena by trying to stop a calf.

rodeo chileno

Colombia: Tejo. This sport is played with dense steel discs, that are thrown into a box measuring one meter square at the far end of the tejo lane. A small paper triangle packed with dust sits on the lip of a plastic circle in the center of the clay-filled box.


Mexico: Charerría. This sport is carried out through horseback riding combined with various forms of Rodeo.


Uruguay: Jineteada Gaucha. This sport consists of a jockey staying still over a foal for 6 to 15 seconds.


As you can see, it is needed to make a differentiation between the national sport and the most popular one because we all expected football to be the national sport.

Now talking about the most popular ones, almost in every country in Latin America football is the most popular one except for Venezuela where people also enjoy Baseball. The following map I extracted from Wikipedia backups this statement.

Mapa latin

Talking about football, I wrote down for every country I stated before the following phrase on google “Best soccer player of all time of (country name)”. The first result for each country in most of the pages I clicked on was:

Argentina: Diego Maradona

Brazil: Pele

Chile: Elias Figueroa

Colombia: Carlos Valderrama

Mexico: Hugo Sánchez

Uruguay: Juan Alberto Schiaffino


Do you agree? Regarding my country, I do agree that Maradona is the best. Messi is also great so it is a tough call, but Maradona won a World Cup and was a finalist in another one. Messi was only a finalist in one. Anyway, this topic is soooo open for discussion, what do you guys think?

Thanks for reading! See you next time!! Jingle bells, jingle bells….

Most Popular dishes and drinks…yummy!

Hello again!!! The holiday season have just started!!!! During this time of the year we all go crazy. We all want to hang out with the friends we see once a week or a month but also with friends we only see during this time of the year. Our schedule is very tight, running from one place to the other in order to go to every single plan we have…we don’t want to miss a thing! And what do we do in each of these plans we have? Eat and drink a lot!! This inspired me for the topi for my new post. What are the most classical dishes and drinks around Latin America? Do you want to know? Lets gets started!!!


Not because I am from this country but I think is very easy to say what is the most classic dish in Argentina: Asado (Barbecue). Cow meat tastes amazing in Argentina due to the climatic and land conditions the country has. Our barbecue is made out with coal or firewood. Never, never, never with gas. For Argentines, gas barbecues are not real barbecues.

The main ingredient in a barbecue is cow meat and we eat almost every single part of it.  However, we also barbecue pork, peppers and sometimes chicken. Therefore, if you ever have the chance of going to Argentina you should definite try a Parrillada completa. This would include sausage, black pudding, chinchulin (sorry I can’t find a translation), kidneys, sweetbreads, 2 pork cuts called pechito and matambrito, chicken, and two meat cuts called vacío and asado. With this parrillada you will get a sauce called Chimichurri to put over anything you want. The sauce is mainly made with garlic, oregano, vinegar, red pepper flakes, olive oil, black pepper and parsley.


Regarding the most popular drink, in my opinion there is a draw between Fernet with Coke and Malbec (Red Wine). I am leaving out of the equation beer because it is drunk in so many countries that it is not a particular Argentine thing. Argentina is the country with the highest production of Malbec. When ever we are eating barbecue most of us will have with it a glass of wine…to start.

Now, if you go out at night around Argentina you will notice that the most popular drink is Fernet with Coke. Fernet is an Italian bitter, that in Italia is served as a digestive after a meal. In Argentina, we drink it in bars or parties with coke as a cocktail.



According to my Colombians friends and by some research I did online, Bandeja Paisa (Paisa Tray) is the most well know dish in Colombia. There are several versions of Bandeja Paisa but it usually includes red beans, rice, ground beef, chorizo with lime, plantain, pone (arepa), avocado, chicarron and fried egg on top. The ground beef can be replaced by pork.

Another well know dish in Colombia is Ajiaco Satafereño…sorry but there is no translation for this. This dish is a soup that is mainly made by different types of potatoes, chicken, onion, garlic, capers, coriander and corn.

bandeja paisa

Now talking about booze, Aguardiente (some kind of brandy which it exact translation would be hot water), is the most popular drink in Colombia. Aguardiente is a distillation of sugar cane molasses, anise essential oils, and water used to create an alcohol that is similar to sambuca, and anisette. The most common way to drink Aguardiente is by taking a shot…please before doing that eat some of the Bandeja Paisa.



My dearests Friends from Mexico kindly asked me to please state that Burritos are not a popular dish in Mexico. Burritos are a popular Tex-Mex dish. What it is really popular in Mexico are the Enchiladas. The Enchiladas are a corn tortilla-based dish that can be stuffed with anything you want. The most common are the Red, Green, Suisse and Potosinas. The red ones includes chiles. The green ones take a special sauce made with green tomatoes. The Suisse ones have cheese, cream and onions. Last but not least, the Potosinas ones take chiles, tomatoes and cheese.

enchiladas 2

There are two popular drinks in Mexico and both are commonly drunk in a shot glass: Tequila and Mezcal. Tequila is a spirit distilled from the Blue Weber agave and it can only be produced in the Mexican State Jalisco. Mezcal is like the Tequila’s cousin. It is also made from agave but it can be produced from almost any type of Agave.



I would say that something Venezuelans eat a lot is Arepas. They eat arepas every day mainly for breakfast. The Arepas are corn cakes that can be stuffed with anything you want, like cheese, meat, butter, ham, eggs, etc.

Another popular dish in Venezuela is the Pabellón Criollo. This dish is made up with meat, black beans, rice and fried plantains.


Rum is Venezuelans’ favorite drink. Rum is a distilled made from sugarcane. If the Rum is really good and old, Venezuelans drink it like Scotch, on the rocks or plain. Now if the Rum is not that old they will drink it with Coke.


That it is all for today! I hope if you ever have the chance of visiting any of these amazing four countries you will try out this dishes and dirnks!

Next Post is going to be about sports!!! See you then!!

PS: I want to clarify why I chose only these 4 countries to talk about it. As you know, I am at the moment a Master Student in an International Business School and I a meeting people from everywhere. I am making friends for life. These wonderful friends mainly come from Colombia, México and Venezuela. They are giving me a big hand with my blog so they deserve a VIP treatment.

How many translations do you think the word Friend has in Spanish?

How would you call a friend in English? Probably by their name or also by using any of these ones: bro, dude, buddy, pal and many more. You want to know how can you call it in Latin America? Amigo (exact translation of the word friend) is probably the only one in common among the whole region. The rest depend on which nationality you are speaking to. Here are a few ones I gather by speaking to my friends at school, most of them are defined by the Real Academia Española ( :


  • Che, distinguished way we use in Argentina to speak to someone.
  • Boludo/a, depending the way you use this word you could be insulting (it means the person is silly) or calling a friend in a familiarity way. Probably this is the word you most here around Argentina.
  • Chavón/a, RAE defines it as person that disturbs a lot. In Argentina, it just means girl o boy.


  • Parecero/a, this word has no meaning in many countries around Latin America
  • Vieja, only use for women, the exact translation would be Old.


  • Carnal, RAE defines it as something related to meat or blood (fleshy).
  • Valedor/a, RAE defines it as someone that is worthy (supporter). This is kind of a nice way to call someone, right?


  • Marica, if you call a man in Argentina by this, he would not like it as it means that you are kind of an effeminate man.
  • Pana, for me Pana is an abbreviation of one of the biggest highways in Buenos Aires: La Panamericana.
  • Culitos, the exact translation of this word would be little asses. Apparently, in Venezuela is sweet to call people by using this word.
  • Chamo/a, most commonly used for kids or teenagers, at it means someone that it is young.

If you go online there are a lot of sites and blogs that talk about the different idioms across Latin America. Here a few ones:

I think you are getting the vibe that Spanish is a very difficult language to understand. Even when your mother tongue is Spanish, there are many times you need a dictionary to get the right meaning of a word. That is way the official Spanish Dictionary; Real Academia Española (RAE) has been during the past decade adding new words to the dictionary, in order for people to understand the different idioms along the Spanish speaking countries.

Another well know dictionary, Larousse, has a very good Facebook fan page  ( where they talk a lot about the different idioms in Spanish. They call these posts “Los latinos hablamos así“ (We the Latins speak like this). Here are a few ones:


Any thoughts about all this? If you are Latin you probably had at least one experience where someone was talking to you in your own language and you couldn’t understand him. Share it with us!!!!!

It is very difficult to learn Spanish

Hey everybody!!! Hope you are having a great day whenever you are!

Let’s start this blog with this amazing video that summarizes how difficult is to speak Spanish and to understand the Spanish from different countries.

The video is in Spanish, so for all my English readers here is the first part of song translated. The rest of the song is what I am going to write about in the following posts.

I traveled through different countries

I met the most beautiful women

I tried delicious food

I danced different rhythms


I went from Mexico to Patagonia and I lived for some years in Spain

I struggled to speak the language but I never got it.


It is difficult is to speak Spanish because everything you say has a different meaning

It is difficult is to understand Spanish, if you learned it don’t move to a different region

It is difficult is to understand Spanish because everything you say has a different meaning

It is difficult is to understand Spanish, so I give up and I am going to return to my home country.