Holidays in Spanish: How to Talk About 7 Spanish Holiday Celebrations

Spanish-speaking countries are full of holiday celebrations. Curious about what global and national celebrations are there for holidays in Spanish?

Learning the vocabulary and expressions related to these special occasions will help you in the future to talk about the culturally important events. First, let’s check one, if not the most important holiday traditions in Spanish about Christmas – brought to you by Spring Spanish, a project I co-founded:

In this blog post, we’ll explore 7 major holidays celebrated in the Spanish-speaking world and give you useful resources to improve your vocabulary for holidays in Spanish. Click on any of these holiday in the table to learn more about them!

SpanishEnglishDate of celebration
NavidadChristmasDecember 25th
Año NuevoNew YearJanuary 1st
PascuaEasterDifferent each year
Día de los MuertosDay of the DeadNovember 1st-2nd
Día de la MadreMother’s DayDifferent in every country
Día del PadreFather’s DayDifferent in every country
Día de la HispanidadHispanic Day / Columbus DayOctober 12th
Día de la IndependenciaIndependence DayDifferent in every country
Día de San JorgeSaint George’s DayApril 23rd

1. Christmas (Navidad) – 25th of December

La Navidad is one of the most important celebrations in Spanish-speaking countries. It’s a time for family gatherings, special meals, and gift exchanges. The Christmas season typically begins in early December and culminates on January 6th, known as El Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings’ Day).

christmas holidays in spanish celebrated by decorating a christmas tree

Celebrations are different across countries, but some common traditions include setting up a Nativity scene (el pesebre or el nacimiento), decorating a Christmas tree (el árbol de Navidad), and attending midnight mass (la misa del gallo) on Christmas Eve.

Here’s a table with Spanish vocabulary related to Christmas:

SpanishEnglish
NavidadChristmas
Papá NoelSanta Claus
regalogift
árbol de NavidadChristmas tree
adornoornament
villancicoChristmas carol
nochebuenaChristmas Eve
pesebreNativity scene

2. New Year’s Eve/Day (Año Nuevo) – 1st of January

Ringing in the New Year is a major event in the Spanish-speaking world.

On la Nochevieja (New Year’s Eve), people gather with family and friends to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one. Common traditions include eating twelve grapes at midnight (las doce uvas de la suerte), making resolutions (propósitos de Año Nuevo), and wearing new, brightly colored underwear for good luck.

SpanishEnglish
Año NuevoNew Year
NocheviejaNew Year’s Eve
uvas de la suertelucky grapes
propósitoresolution
celebracióncelebration
champánchampagne
fuegos artificialesfireworks
tradicióntradition

3. Easter (Semana Santa/Pascua) – Different each year

The observance of Easter, known as Semana Santa or Pascua, is a significant religious celebration in many Spanish-speaking countries. It commemorates the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The week leading up to Easter Sunday is marked by solemn processions, religious plays (pasiones), and special dishes like capirotada (a bread pudding).

SpanishEnglish
Semana SantaHoly Week
PascuaEaster
Viernes SantoGood Friday
Domingo de ResurrecciónEaster Sunday
procesiónprocession
capirotadabread pudding
misamass
huevo de PascuaEaster egg

You can check how to say happy easter in Spanish on our website!

4. Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) – 1st of November

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a colorful celebration that honors the deceased.

day of the dead holidays in spanish celebrated with calaveras

It’s primarily celebrated in Mexico and some parts of Central and South America. Families create elaborate altars (ofrendas) with marigold flowers, photos of the departed, and their favorite foods and drinks. Skulls (calaveras) and skeletons are symbols during this celebration.

SpanishEnglish
Día de los MuertosDay of the Dead
ofrendaaltar
cempasúchilmarigold flower
calaveraskull
pan de muertobread of the dead
veladoracandle
altaraltar
difuntodeceased

5. Mother’s Day (Día de la Madre) – Different in every country

El Día de la Madre is celebrated on different dates across Spanish-speaking countries, but it’s a special occasion to honor and appreciate mothers.

Children often give their mothers cards, flowers, and gifts as a token of love and gratitude. Families may come together for a special meal or outing to celebrate the day.

CountryDate of celebration
ArgentinaSecond Sunday of October
Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Puerto Rico, VenezuelaSecond Sunday of May
ColombiaLast Sunday of May
Costa RicaAugust 15
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, MexicoMay 10
NicaraguaMay 30
PanamaDecember 8
SpainFirst Sunday of May

Learn more about mother’s day in Spanish on Effortless Conversations.

6. Father’s Day (Día del Padre) – Different in every country

Similar to Mother’s Day, el Día del Padre is a day to honor fathers and celebrate fatherhood. Traditions may include giving cards, gifts, or organizing special activities or outings with fathers or father figures.

CountryDate of celebration
SpainMarch 19
Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, PanamaThird Sunday of June
EcuadorSecond Sunday of June
Dominican RepublicLast Sunday of July

If you want to learn more about father’s day in Spanish, check the dedicated article for it.

7. National Holidays

Hispanic Day – 12th of October

El Día de la Hispanidad, also known as Hispanic Day or Columbus Day, is celebrated on October 12th in Spain and some Latin American countries.

It commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. Parades, cultural events, and discussions about the historical significance of this date take place on this holiday.

Independence days in Spanish-speaking countries – Different in every country

Many Spanish-speaking countries celebrate their independence on different dates. Here’s a table with some examples:

CountryDate of Celebration
Mexico9/16/2024
Chile9/18/2024
Costa Rica9/15/2024
Argentina7/9/2024
Colombia7/20/2024

Independence Day celebrations often include parades, fireworks, and public gatherings with traditional foods and music.

Saint George’s Day – 23rd of April

El Día de San Jorge (Saint George’s Day) is celebrated on April 23rd, primarily in Spain and some Latin American countries with Spanish heritage. It’s a day to honor the patron saint of several professions, including soldiers and farmers.

saint georges day holidays in spanish

In Catalonia, the love and literature is celebrated with books and roses being exchanged. It’s one of the most important holidays in Catalonia.

Practice holidays in Spanish with our Practice Worksheet

Fill in the blanks with the correct missing words!

This isn’t everything we have to offer: click the button now to get access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

Learn about different holidays in Spanish with Conversation Based Chunking

Learning about holidays in Spanish an excellent way to immerse yourself in the the Spanish-speaking world. Through understanding the traditions, and vocabulary associated with these special events, you’ll have insights into the values, history, and way of life of diverse Hispanic communities.

However, merely memorizing lists of words and phrases is not enough to truly master this aspect of the language. Conversation Based Chunking, a method that focuses on learning vocabulary and grammar in the context of real-world conversations and situations, can be an incredibly effective tool.

By studying holiday expressions and dialogues as they naturally occur, you’ll develop a more intuitive grasp of how to appropriately use this vocabulary, making your Spanish sound more authentic and natural.

¡Felices fiestas y que la pases bien! (Happy holidays and have a great time!)

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