Happy New Year! (¡Feliz año nuevo!)


Now that the fireworks and champagne toasts are done, we at Luminoso Language Services thought we would let you know of some Latino and Spanish traditions for New Years Eve.

A tradition that originated in Spain and is celebrated in many South and Central American countries is burning out the old year to get rid of negative karma from the past year. In some countries, the tradition is to write down the negatives on a piece of paper and burn it; in others people make or buy effigies to burn at midnight.

Another Spanish tradition widely followed in the Americas is eating 12 grapes at midnight – one grape for good luck for each month of the year. You can also make wishes on each grape. This tradition started in Spain in 1895 when grape farmers wanted to sell an over-abundance of grapes.

If you want to travel, people in Venezuela and Colombia believe that walking around the block with a suitcase will increase their chances of travel in the new year. To travel a person needs money, right? In Ecuador celebrants hide money around the house to bring prosperity, in other areas, people put money in their shoes.

What better way to make a clean sweep of the past year than cleaning your house? Families clean their houses so they are spotless by New Year’s Eve.

An ancient Roman tradition was to put lentils in their purses with the hope that they would turn to gold. Lentils are a symbol of of prosperity, so this tradition has translated into eating a bowl of lentils at midnight, or planting or putting lentils in your pocket to keep your finances straight in the coming year.

Windows are symbolic of fresh air, so two traditions that exploit that are: throwing last year’s calendar or a cup of water out the window. If it’s the water, the cup should be carried around the house to collect the bad vibes before it’s tossed.

And finally, your underwear matters! Wearing the following colored underwear on New Years Eve will attract:

  • Red: Attracts love, romance, and passion.
  • Yellow: Attracts money, prosperity, abundance, and financial stability into your life.
  • White: Represents peace, harmony, and calmness.
  • Black: Associated with luxury, power, and sexuality.
  • Green: The color of health, good luck, and protection. Wear them for all-around good fortune!
  • Blue: Believed to bring balance and stability. Good for making that elusive personal project come to life or getting that job you always wanted.

Imagine if you layered them and wore them all what a great year you would have!

Contact us to start you New Year with personal, online Spanish lessons

Feliz Año Nuevo from Luminoso Educational Services!

The story of Ñ and why it took so long to be able to use it in a URL

The grapheme Ñ is a mainstay of the Spanish language. It’s formed by a tilde (also called a virgulilla – little comma) over an upper or lower case N. It’s the 15th letter of the Spanish alphabet, after N, and has its own name, eñe. More than 15,700 words in the Spanish language contain it. Another example of a grapheme like this is the German W, which came from a double V or the German umlaut.

Have you noticed that the symbol ~ is an abstract n? Ñ formally originated in the eighteenth century with its first official recognition by the Royal Spanish Academy as a contraction of NN. Año in old Spanish was spelled anno (Latin annus) and the use of the tilde was developed as a shorthand version and was finally adopted and added to the Spanish alphabet. One theory of its origin is that in the Middle Ages monks devised its usage as a way to save parchment and time. One of the first usages is found in a document dated 1175.

Italian and French use gn for the same sound.

The use of Ñ has gradually become adopted in the U.S. Have you ever ordered a piña colada, had extra jalapeños on your nachos and talked about El Niño when discussing the weather?

So why hasn’t Ñ been used in URLs until last year? There’s no eñe in English and much of the tech developments for the internet started in the U.S. In 2021, a law passed in Spain set the standard that enabled the use of ñ in a URL.

You don’t have to know all 15,700 words in Spanish that use Ñ, but we can help you learn a lot of them with our personalized individual or group lessons. Contact us for more information.

Cheech Marin’s Chicano Art Museum Opens

We all know Cheech Marin as an actor and one half of the stoner comedy team of Cheech and Chong, but for years he’s also been an avid collector of Chicano art. He’s been collecting art for 40 years and parts of his collection have been touring museums and breaking attendance records during that time.

The collection is now housed in a new museum in Riverside, California. The museum is officially called the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, but let’s face it, “The Cheech” is much more appealing. It occupies 61,420 square feet in what was formerly Riverside’s main library. Cheech’s collection now numbers 700 pieces of Chicano art. He’s gifted 500 pieces to the museum where there are about 100 pieces currently on display, along with other exhibits.
Cheech’s interest in art started in the 1980’s and he credits his ex-wife, a painter for opening his eyes to contemporary art. He sees the art in his collection as mixture of Mexican art, world art and pop culture.
“It was also art history that I understood, because all these artists were either art school and/or university-trained,” Marin says. “So they weren’t naive backyard artists that did it on weekends — these are really serious artists that were influenced by world art.”  He compared seeing the art to hearing the Beatles for the first time – the Beatles filtered American music through their lens and the artists filtered pop culture through a Chicano lens.
The term Chicano came into use in the 1960’s as a political movement for people of Mexican descent to express political empowerment, ethnic solidarity, and pride.
Finding out about Cheech’s other side is rewarding and show’s a different side of his personality and interests. Find a way to express yourself in a second language – contact Luminoso Language Services to learn Spanish at any level.

Un agricultor egipcio encuentra por error una estela faraónica de 2 mil 600 años/An Egyptian farmer mistakenly finds a 2,600-year-old pharaonic stele

Mientras preparaba su tierra, un agricultor descubrió una estela faraónica al noreste de El Cairo, con nueva información sobre una gran guerra contra los fenicios.

En las cercanías de la ciudad de Ismailia, en Egipto, un agricultor empezó su día de trabajo sin saber que encontraría una estela faraónica. Como sucede en los países con amplia riqueza cultural e histórica, es común que este tipo de hallazgos por parte de la población civil sean accidentales. Sin embargo, resalta el hecho de que la pieza está casi intacta, y podría datar de hace 2 mil 600 años.

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An Egyptian farmer mistakenly finds a 2,600-year-old pharaonic stele

While preparing his land, a farmer discovered a pharaonic stele northeast of Cairo, with new information about a great war against the Phoenicians.

In the vicinity of the city of Ismailia, in Egypt, a farmer started his work day not knowing that he would find a pharaonic stele. As is the case in countries with extensive cultural and historical wealth, it is common for this type of discoveries by the civilian population to be accidental. However, it highlights the fact that the piece is almost intact, and could date from 2,600 years ago.

Read here in Spanish

Google celebra a la letra Ñ/Google celebrates the letter Ñ

Por primera vez en la historia, los dominios web de toda España podrán incluir la letra Ñ, un bastión de la lengua española.

Onomatopéyica y soñadora, la letra Ñ es el grafema número 25 del alfabeto arábigo. A diferencia de la creencia popular, el sonido no es exclusivo del idioma español. Por el contrario, también se emplea en el guaraní, chamorro y quechua, así como otras lenguas nativas de Europa. Hoy, Google la celebra como parte de la riqueza lingüística del mundo.

¿De dónde viene el gorrito de la letra Ñ?

Al día de hoy, según El País, se tiene registro de más de 15 mil 700 palabras que contienen a la letra Ñ en su constitución. A pesar de que otros idiomas utilizan el fonema /eñe/ para expresar ciertos términos, el símbolo de la Ñ sólo se usa en el español.

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Google celebrates the letter Ñ

For the first time in history, web domains throughout Spain will be able to include the letter Ñ, a bastion of the Spanish language.

Onomatopoeic and dreamy, the letter Ñ is the grapheme number 25 of the Arabic alphabet. Contrary to popular belief, the sound is not unique to the Spanish language. On the contrary, it is also used in Guaraní, Chamorro and Quechua, as well as other native languages ​​of Europe. Today, Google celebrates it as part of the world’s linguistic wealth.

Where does the hat with the letter Ñ come from?

As of today, according to El País, there is a record of more than 15,700 words that contain the letter Ñ in its constitution. Although other languages ​​use the phoneme / eñe / to express certain terms, the symbol for Ñ is only used in Spanish.

Read more in Spanish HERE

Descubren una nueva figura en las misteriosas líneas de Nasca en Perú/They discover a new figure in the mysterious Nasca lines in Peru

Uno de los misterios más fascinantes de los antiguos pobladores de América son las figuras gigantes (conocidas como geoglifos) dibujadas en la arena y las montañas del desierto de Nasca, en Perú.

El pasado 15 de octubre, el Ministerio de Cultura de Perú anunció el descubrimiento de un nuevo geoglifo en la Pampa de Nasca que se mantuvo oculto durante 2 mil años:

Se trata de la representación de un felino elaborada hace más de dos mil años y es obra de la cultura Paracas, una sociedad previa a la Nasca que coincide con ella un sinfín de rasgos culturales y se desarrolló en la costa del centro-sur de Perú, a unos 400 kilómetros de Lima.

La figura mide 37 metros de largo y su trazado tiene un ancho de línea de entre 30 y 40 centímetros. Está realizada sobre una colina rocosa que servía como acceso a un mirador en la zona, que permite apreciar más figuras en la cara opuesta de la montaña.

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A new figure is discovered in the mysterious Nasca lines in Peru

One of the most fascinating mysteries of the ancient settlers of America are the giant figures (known as geoglyphs) drawn in the sand and the mountains of the Nasca desert, in Peru.

On October 15, the Ministry of Culture of Peru announced the discovery of a new geoglyph in the Pampa de Nasca that remained hidden for 2,000 years:

It is the representation of a feline made more than two thousand years ago and it is the work of the Paracas culture, a pre-Nasca society that coincides with endless cultural features and developed on the south-central coast of Peru. , about 400 kilometers from Lima.

The figure is 37 meters long and its outline has a line width of between 30 and 40 centimeters. It is made on a rocky hill that served as access to a viewpoint in the area, which allows you to see more figures on the opposite side of the mountain.

Read the full article in Spanish

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Un recorrido prehistórico en el Museo de La Peña/A Prehistoric Tour in the Museum of La Peña

Fósiles de especies de la megafauna que habitaron zonas del Embalse del Guajaro hace más de 10.000 años se exhibirán en este espacio paleontológico del Atlántico.

Una caverna, de cielo rocoso y agrietado, transporta al visitante a más de 10.000 años atrás. A la prehistoria.

Hace varios milenios, recorrían espesos bosques, valles y planicies, animales como megaterios, mastodontes, gliptodontes, smilodontes—conocido como tigre dientes de sable—, entre otras especies de la megafauna. Estos colosales ejemplares que poblaron el planeta entre los periodos Mioceno y Pleistoceno fueron también parte de este territorio. Muchos restos fosilizados de estas especies permanecen aún bajo el suelo del Atlántico.

De espaldas al embalse del Guajaro, en La Peña, corregimiento de Sabanalarga, abre hoy sus puertas el primer Museo Palentológico del departamento y la región.

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A Prehistoric Tour in the Museum of La Peña

Fossils of megafauna species that inhabited areas of the Guajaro Reservoir more than 10,000 years ago will be exhibited in this paleontological space in the Atlantic.

A cavern, with a rocky and cracked sky, transports the visitor to more than 10,000 years ago. To prehistory.

Several millennia ago, animals such as megaterios, mastodons, glyptodonts, and smilodonts — known as the saber-toothed tiger—, among other species of megafauna, roamed through thick forests, valleys and plains. These colossal specimens that populated the planet between the Miocene and Pleistocene periods were also part of this territory. Many fossilized remains of these species still remain under the Atlantic floor.

With its back turned to the Guajaro reservoir, in La Peña, Sabanalarga district, the first Palentological Museum of the department and the region opens its doors today.

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Encontré el alma de Sonora en la carne asada/Finding the Soul of Sonora in Carne Asada

Photo: The New York Times

Una carne asada es mucho más que poner alimento al fuego: en el norte de México es un ritual semanal para compartir con amigos y familiares cercanos.

Como una mujer que nació y creció en Ciudad de México, creí que conocía la carne asada a la perfección.

Sin embargo, no fue sino hasta que viajé por todo el estado de Sonora, desde Nogales en la frontera con Estados Unidos hasta Navojoa, en el extremo sur de la región, que pude vivir la verdadera experiencia de la carne asada al estilo norteño.

En un puesto de tacos de cualquier otro lugar, la carne asada es solo carne a la parrilla. Pero en Sonora, una carne asada es la reunión semanal con amigos y familiares, con este plato al centro de todo. Cada componente recibe un trato casi reverencial: desde los platillos (la carne, la salsa, los frijoles, el guacamole que nunca lleva limón, las tortillas de harina ultrasuaves) hasta su preparación (cocinar, hacer los tacos) y la función de cada participante (el parrillero, sus parientes, los invitados).

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Finding the Soul of Sonora in Carne Asada

A carne asada goes far beyond grilled meat: In the Mexican state of Sonora, it’s a weekly ritual, a tight-knit gathering of friends and family.

As a Mexican born and raised in Mexico City, I thought I knew my carne asada.

But it wasn’t until I traveled across the state of Sonora, from the border city of Nogales to Navojoa, in the southern part of the region, that I had a true taste of the northern-style carne asada experience.

At a taco stand anywhere else, carne asada is grilled meat. But in Sonora, a carne asada is the weekly gathering of friends and family, with the dish at its heart. Every component — from the dishes (the meat, the salsa, the beans, the smashed guacamole never with lime, the pillowy-soft flour tortillas) to their preparation (the cooking, the taco assembly) to everyone’s role (the parrillero, or grill master, his family members, the guests) — is treated with almost reverence.

To read in English, click HERE

¿De dónde vienen los nombres de los meses del año?/Where do the names of the months of the year come from?

Los nombres de los meses del año reflejan una mezcla de dioses y diosas, gobernantes y números. 

Marcamos el tiempo de muchas maneras diferentes. Una unidad, el mes, ha estado en uso durante miles de años. Usamos sus nombres todo el tiempo, pero ¿qué significan los nombres de los meses del año y de dónde vienen?

Hoy nos rige el calendario gregoriano, pero se basa en el antiguo calendario romano, que se cree fue inventado por Rómulo, el primer rey de Roma, alrededor del año 753 a . C.

Antiguamente, los calendarios se estructuraban en torno a las fases de la luna, como en el musulmán, o en función del sol como hacían en el Antiguo Egipto. Se trata de una herramienta que ha acompañado al hombre desde hace mucho tiempo, siendo el calendario más antiguo encontrado uno que data del 8.000 a.C. y que medía el tiempo tanto por la luna como por el sol.

Los egipcios, como casi todos los pueblos, utilizaron en los albores de su civilización un calendario lunar.

Como ya lo mencionamos, el calendario que ahora nos rige, como casi todo, es herencia del poderosos Imperio Romano. 
Originariamente, el calendario primitivo de Roma se dividía solamente en 10 meses y no coincidía con los ciclos astronómicos.
Fue Numa Pompilio, el segundo rey de Roma (715-672 a. de C.), quien adaptó el calendario al año solar según el modelo egipcio y le agregó los 2 meses restantes. Desde que Roma lo hiciera su calendario oficial, el modelo compuesto por doce meses se extendió por toda Europa y fue utilizado hasta el siglo XV, cuando hizo su entrada el calendario gregoriano. 

Los nombres que los romanos utilizaban para designar los meses del año tienen su origen en dioses, emperadores o números, y estos se han conservado en las lenguas inglesa, española, francesa, italiana y portuguesa.

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Where do the names of the months of the year come from?

The names of the months of the year reflect a mixture of gods and goddesses, rulers and numbers.

We mark time in many different ways. One unit, the month, has been in use for thousands of years. We use their names all the time, but what do the names of the months of the year mean and where do they come from?

Today the Gregorian calendar governs us, but it is based on the ancient Roman calendar, which is believed to have been invented by Romulus, the first king of Rome, around 753 BC. C.

In ancient times, calendars were structured around the phases of the moon, as in the Muslim, or based on the sun as they did in Ancient Egypt. It is a tool that has accompanied man for a long time, the oldest calendar found being one that dates from 8,000 B.C. and that he measured time by both the moon and the sun.

The Egyptians, like almost all peoples, used a lunar calendar at the dawn of their civilization.
As we already mentioned, the calendar that now governs us, like almost everything, is inherited from the powerful Roman Empire.
Originally, the primitive calendar of Rome was only divided into 10 months and did not coincide with the astronomical cycles.

It was Numa Pompilio, the second king of Rome (715-672 BC), who adapted the calendar to the solar year according to the Egyptian model and added the remaining 2 months. Since Rome made its official calendar, the twelve-month model spread throughout Europe and was used until the 15th century, when the Gregorian calendar entered.

The names that the Romans used to designate the months of the year originate from gods, emperors, or numbers, and these have been preserved in the English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese languages

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