Expat Argentina

“Felices Fiestas” Means Happy Holidays in Argentina


Another great example of how culture is embedded in language is the phrase “Felices Fiestas”/Happy Holidays.

The word feliz means happy but the word fiesta means party! Happy parties??

Well yes!! Of couse! This is Latin America. And Latin America wouldn’t have nearly as much allure if it weren’t for the parties. And in true Latin fashion, Christmas is celebrated at night (still with family), on the 24th, and everyone goes out and dances and parties after dinner with friends and family.

Quite a bit of contrast to our happy holy-days. (The word “holiday” comes from holy + day). (another reference).

And oh my God the fireworks! For those of you in Buenos Aires during Christmas this year please go onto the highest rooftop you can find at about midnight to watch a citywide display of fireworks. Not the 4th of July super watered down so the kids don’t get burned kind. I mean massive explosions that if you didn’t know any better would lead you to believe you were in the middle of a war zone. And it’s a 360 degree display.

And dancing and music and so forth. Yes, it’s a party and hence the difference in the wording and the meaning.

Christmas in the U.S. as we know consists of a frenzy of purchasing leading up to the 25th and on that particular day, the most normal activities are for kids to open presents, to have dinner with family and friends, and watch football and/or basketball.

No dancing, no fireworks, no parties. I’m not saying that the Latin version is better it’s just different. I miss basketball on Christmas. I also miss good beer.

And I’m just trying to illustrate why one culture calls theirs a happy holiday and the other happy parties.