Although language and culture can be a barrier between countries, there is one universal concept that transcends all differences: people love to party.
Whether you are traveling to a Spanish speaking country for vacation, relaxing for a bit on a work trip, or even just meeting with people at home from different backgrounds, you want to know how to have a good time with everyone.
There are certain Spanish party phrases and terms that you should know, and some cultural concepts that you should be familiar with in order to fully understand the Latin American social culture.
In this article, we will give you:
- An overview of some Spanish words and phrases commonly used in party settings
- An explanation of the Spanish toast
- Some insight into the Latin American party culture
What is the Word For Party in Spanish?
To start off, let’s take a look at the main event – the party. The Spanish word for party is fiesta.
This word comes from the Latin word festa, meaning feast. It is also similar to the Latin word for festival, which is festum.
Fiesta has come to be a term to describe any sort of party, whether it be a birthday party, a religious holiday or festival, or any other kind of celebratory event.
So now that you know what the event is called, let’s get into some common Spanish phrases that you will probably hear or use at the fiesta itself.
There are a few words and phrases that you will definitely want to use to ask questions and jump into conversations.
Party Spanish – Essential Verbs:
Some of the essential Spanish verbs to know at a party are:
- Beber – To Drink
¿Qué estás bebiendo esta noche? (What are you drinking tonight?)
- Bailar – To Dance
¿Quieres bailar conmigo? (Do you want to dance with me?)
- Celebrar / Festejar – To Celebrate
Vamos a celebrar mi cumpleaños a la discoteca. (Let’s celebrate my birthday at the club)
Spanish Party Words and Phrases:
- Feliz cumpleaños – Happy birthday
- La discoteca – Club/Nightclub
- Amigos y familial – Friends and family
- ¡Salud! – Cheers / To your health!
Common Spanish Party Questions:
- ¿Dónde está la fiesta/la discoteca?
(Where is the party/club?)
- ¿A qué hora es la fiesta?
(What time is the party?)
- ¿Qué debo traer a la fiesta?
(What should I bring to the party?)
It’s Time for the Spanish Toast – How to Cheers in Spanish
Now you don’t want to miss this…
One of (if not the) most important aspects of Spanish partying is to know the Spanish Toast. This toast is most common in Spain and is a great way to get the party started.
It’s simple! First, you have to find una bebida (a drink) like una cerveza (a beer) or un chupito (a shot) and then you raise your glass and state the phrase:
This literally translates to “health” but is used the same way a “Cheers” or “Bottoms up” would be used before you start drinking.
Another popular toast in Spanish is the famous:
¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa dentro!
In the United States, this toast can be compared to expressions like cheers, bottoms up, shots, etc, but it has a little more action to it! (more below) However, the literal translation is “up, down, center, inside” and this indicates what to do with your drink.
You usually do this form of cheers the first time you take a drink with your friends.
How to Do the Spanish Toast
But that’s not all! To look like a true native, you must complete the appropriate actions along with the toast. Don’t worry, we’ll teach you how to do it.
- Arriba (up) – hold your drink up.
- Abajo (down) – lower your drink.
- Al centro (center) – drinks to the middle.
- Pa dentro (inside) – everyone drink!
Here is an example of a Hispanic-American family performing the Spanish toast.
So, the next time you’re in a Spanish speaking party environment and someone suggests a shot or a toast, you will know what to do with your drink.
Looking Deeper into Latin American Party Culture
While it is good to know some of the common words and phrases of Latin American parties, it is also important to understand some of the cultural elements involved as well.
There are many reasons to celebrate, ranging from birthdays and important life events to holidays and historical traditions and festivals. One major Latin American cultural element is the emphasis on family.
Family & Food
Latin American families are typically very large and close-knit. This element of togetherness is translated into parties and drinking, as we can see from the “arriba, abajo, al centro, pa dentro” toast that involves a group of people all cheering and drinking together.
The toast truly embodies the family aspect of Latin American culture.
Another family tradition that is celebrated throughout Latin America is the Quinceañera. The literal translation for Quinceañera is “the girl who is 15,” as it is celebrated on a girl’s 15th birthday.
This celebration is a combination of a religious ceremony and a party to recognize a girl’s transition into womanhood, and it is seen as a right-of-passage for any young girl.
Regional Differences in a Fiesta
The different countries and regions within Latin America each have their own specific cultural elements that result in various traditions and practices, each with their own rich history and origins.
For example, in Mexico Día de Los Muertos is a very important holiday tradition to honor and recognize loved ones who have passed. It dates back to early Aztec history with influences from more recent Catholic beliefs.
Knowing the history goes hand in hand with knowing the language, as both of these elements are essential for fully understanding and embracing Latin American culture.
Prepare for Your Next Spanish Fiesta
Get ready for an upcoming fiesta or celebration by practicing your Spanish!
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