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Spanish Language Coordinator

by novie.surya on 

January 22, 2019
¡Felicidades! (Culture & Language: Spanish-speaking Countries) - The Story
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¡Saludos a los entusiastas del lenguaje!
Greetings, Language Enthusiast!

Polyglot Indonesia Jakarta Chapter’s last meetup of the year was held on Sunday, December 16th 2018 in collaboration with Instituto Nebrija Jakarta. With the title “¡Felicidades! Culture and Language: Spanish-Speaking Countries”, the Spanish Language Coordinators & Contributors team (Astrid Wasistyanti, Ratu Ala Khairunnisa Johan, Novie Surya, Maryam Jamilah, Rendy Irawan, and Mohammad Utama) along with our special guest Alfonso Carnicero Izquierdo from Instituto Nebrija Jakarta, presented about the festivals celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries.

There are hundreds of traditional festivals celebrated in different parts of Spain. Alfonso, who is a native from Spain, explained how the traditional festivals celebrated throughout Spain have all a common origin: religion and economy. While most of the traditional festivals are related to religion, the Spaniards today lived in a non-religious way.

Some of the festivals celebrated in Spain highlighted during the meetup are:

  1. Fiesta de la Vendimia Riojana “San Mateo”, held on 15 to 22 September in Logroño, which celebrates the harvesting of grapes and the making of wine.
  2. San Fermin, held on 6 to 14 July in Pamplona, is a popular festival where bulls are released among the crowds of people gathered in the city wearing all white with red scarf.
  3. Fiestas de San Juan Bautista, held from 22 to 25 June in every part of Spain, celebrates the summer solstice by making large bonfires and having people jump over them or walk over the Paso de Fuego (path of fire).
  4. Fallas de Valencia, which starts the last Sunday of February and ends on March 19, is a celebration where carpenters create huge wooden statues and monuments throughout the year and then burn them at the end of the festival, which is called la cremá.
  5. La Tomatina de Buñol, celebrated every last Wednesday of August in Buñol, Valencia, is an internationally well-known festival in which  the famed tomato war in the city is held for an hour.

Another important event of the year celebrated by the Spanish people is Christmas. In Spain, it is celebrated by dining on traditional foods such as pavo truvado, pularda asada, polvorones, turrón, and mazapán with the family, as described by Maryam Jamilah, who experienced it during her visit to Spain. On the 6th of January, they celebrate Día de Los Reyes Magos, where children open their Christmas presents and people gather in the city to watch the parade.

Moving on to the Latin American countries, the Spanish Language Coordinators and Contributors team members who have experience in living in South American countries, presented some spectacular celebrations:

  1. Quinceañera, Ratu Ala Khairunnisa Johan explained that this is a Hispanic tradition to celebrate a young girl’s 15th birthday.
  2. Día de Los Muertos, as informed by Mohammad Utama, is a big festival celebrated in Mexico every 1st of November where people gather together to pray and remember their deceased family members and friends. During this festival, each house wouldplace a special altar called ofrendas that is decorated with tegates flowers, calaveras and the favorite foods of the deceased family member. Traditional foods served during this festival are pan de muerto, calaveras, pulque,and champurrado.
  3. Novie Surya stated that Inti Raymi is a religious ceremony to honor the god Inti, an ancient Incan sun god. It is held on the 24th June, during the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, in Cuzco, Peru. The celebration involves music,dances and traditional foods such as chiriuchu and chica morada.
  4. Feria de las Flores, presented by Rendy Irawan, is an event held in August in Medellin, Colombia. “Los Silleteros" will parade in the city while carrying 15 different types of flowers brought on their back. Some traditional foods that can be found during the festival are bandeja paisa, empanada paisa, sancocho paisa, mazamora antiqueno, arepa con chocolo, and aguardiente.
  5. Astrid Wasityanti shared her knowledge on Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia, a festival to celebrate the harvest of grapes during December to February in Mendoza, Agentina. The festival itself consists of aselection of “Reina Nacional de la Vendimia" (National Grape Harvest Queen), dance and music shows and fireworks display.

After the end of the presentations, we asked our 60 meetup participants about what are the most unique festivals held in the countries of their language tables. English Table presented on Cooper Hill Cheese Rolling Contest and Hair Freezing Contest, while Arabic Table explained how a wedding in arabic-speaking countries is a major event to families holding it. German Table spoke about the festival of May Day (Der Erste Mai, Tag der Arbeit). Mandarin Table described the Ghost Festival (Zhongyuan Jie (中元节)) which is celebrated also in several other Asian countries. Spanish Table also added a traditional celebration during Christmas, which is called La Nochevieja, and French Table talked about La Chandeleur, a religious festival where French people feast after 40 days of Christmas and eat crepes! Moreover, Korean Table described about Boryeong Mud Festival (보령머드축제), a summer celebration in which people flocked around and spend time in the mud. Whereas Japanese Table shared about the Kanamara Matsuri festival (かなまら祭り), which has the phallus as the central theme of the event. Lastly, Italian Table presented Festa dei Serpari, where snakes covered the statue of St. Dominic Abbot, a saint believed to be a protector from toothaches.

In the second part of the meetup, Alfonso gave the participants a quick and simple Spanish course. It was so much fun that everyone in the room started roaming around, finding new people to introduce themselves in Spanish! We think that learning Spanish language is not as difficult as it seems, because by the end of the meetup, the majority of the participants were able to conduct basic conversation and say what activities they want to do this weekend, in Spanish.

Thank you for Alfonso and Nebrija Institute Jakarta for this fun Spanish course, and also our special appreciation goes to the Spanish Language Coordinators and Contributors team for making this meet-up possible. Special thanks to Hoshino Tea Time for the great venue! Thanks a lot and hope to see you again on another Polyglot Indonesia Jakarta Chapter's meet-up! (For the complete photo documentation, please check our Facebook fan page album).

¡Hasta luego!
See you soon!

About the author

Novie is your socially awkward but friendly friend who loves to crochet, watch movies and tv series, collect postcards, and find new places to eat. Currently working as a UI/UX Designer for an IT company in Jakarta. Her dreams and goals include travelling the globe for free and trying exquisite dishes and desserts from every corner of the world. She speaks English, Indonesian, Spanish, and a little bit of French.

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