Sana Sana Colita de Rana and Other Fun Sayings in Spanish
Have you ever heard the expression sana sana colita de rana in Spanish? It’s a Spanish saying used by parents all over Latin America to deal with physical pain of their children.
However, the interesting part is that the phrase doesn’t make any sense. It has to do with a frog’s tail. It’s a cultural construct created because it rhymes and has a purpose.
Learning these cultural products are a great way to keep moving forward on your Spanish progress and, as a bonus, it provides a glimpse of how the culture works. This is no small thing, as languages aren’t only systems of communication, but cultural products themselves. In order to fully master them, you need to understand the culture from which it comes.
If you want to know what other sayings like sana sana colita de rana exist and how you can learn these phrases to your advantage, keep reading! You’ll soon discover that you can learn a language and have fun at the same time!
Learning Spanish In Many Ways
Learning a new language is a process that has many different aspects. It’s not only about the grammar, the spelling, or the pronunciation. It also has to do with discovering a new culture; the little things that make the language unique and the fun parts that only native speakers seem to understand (such as the sana sana colita de rana saying).
For that reason, you can learn Spanish (or any other language) in so many ways. Some people like to learn it from books, others look for a tutor or a language partner, some prefer to download an app, while others may like watching videos.
Tongue Twisters, Jokes, and Fun Sayings
Here at Homeschool Spanish Academy, we believe that the best way to learn Spanish is one that has a balanced approach of different strategies. That’s why we have our own YouTube channel, but also offer one-to-one lessons, and write grammar-related blogs, among many other things.
By learning tongue twisters, jokes, and fun sayings in Spanish, you give yourself the opportunity not only to have fun while learning the language but also to absorb some of its most specific cultural products. It might seem odd to learn a joke in Spanish instead of a new verb conjugation set, but it’s all about balance. Grammar will only take you so far, and at some point you need to start dealing with the cultural particularities of the Spanish language. Along with sayings like sana sana colita de rana, you’ll know essential phrases that native Spanish speakers say to each other or to little kids.
Fun Sayings in Spanish
1. Sana Sana Colita de Rana
Sana sana colita de rana is not only a fun saying, but also a popular song in Spanish for kids. The full saying has two parts:
Sana sana colita de rana,
Si no sana hoy, sanará mañana.
Its literal translation sounds really funny in English and makes no sense whatsoever:
Heal, heal, little tail of the frog,
If you don’t heal today, you’ll heal tomorrow.
This is a fun saying in Spanish that adults tell to little kids every time they fall or somehow hurt themselves. By saying something as absurd as this (what does the tail of a frog have to do with anything?), the kids get distracted, stop crying and go back to chasing their friends. If you want to really do it like a native speaker, you should rub the hurt part of the body while saying the magic words: sana sana colita de rana.
2. ¡Ponte las Pilas!
I love this one! It literally means “put in your batteries.” You say it to a person who might seem a bit tired or distracted. Back in the day, there was a Mexican luchador (wrestler) called the Súper Muñeco (Super Doll) who inspired this phrase. When he got tired and the other luchadores started getting the best of him, he would go to his corner and his trainer would pretend to put new batteries in him. From that point on, Súper Muñeco would start kicking everyone’s bottoms and win every fight.
I have no idea if that’s the origin of the phrase, but I find the story so funny and the best way to illustrate the meaning of saying ponte las pilas to somebody. Basically, you are saying something like “get yourself together,” but you can also say it in a variety of other contexts.
3. La Última Coca Cola del Desierto
Imagine a scenario where you are walking across the desert with a group of friends and in the cooler there is one last Coca Cola. Now think, how would that bottle of Coca Cola feel about itself (if it could do such a thing)? It would feel pretty special and entitled. That’s the meaning of this saying. It’s most often used to tell somebody else that he or she thinks too much of himself or herself.
Te crees la última Coca-Cola del desierto.
You think you are the last Coca-Cola in the desert.
4. En Boca Cerrada No Entran Moscas
This one is funny too. “In a shut mouth no flies can get in.” You get the picture, right? It’s simple, and it’s clear, that’s why it works so well. Keep your mouth shut, and you won’t get into trouble. It’s better not to say anything, and to avoid any potential problem. It’s used a lot when people are gossiping.
5. Ni Tanto que Queme al Santo, Ni Tanto que No lo Alumbre
My abuela (grandmother) used to say this one all the time and I just love its sound and rhythm:
Ni tanto que queme al santo,
ni tanto que no lo alumbre.
Not so much that the saint gets burned,
But neither so little that it won’t get any light.
The saint is a religious icon, a figure of Saint Joseph for example. With this phrase you are telling someone to put a candle close to the saint not so much that burns it, but not too far that it won’t even light it. It’s about the middle ground and finding the right balance in life, work, or anything actually.
6. Con Paciencia y con Maña, un Elefante se Comió una Araña
I wanted to finish the blog post with this one because it gives the right message. “With patience and skill, an elephant ate a spider.” It’s similar to that of sana sana colita de rana, as in the only reason there is a colita de rana in the first place, is because rana rhymes with sana. Same with the araña; it’s there because it rhymes with maña.
The image is beautiful and speaks for itself. With patience and skill, you can achieve anything. Even learning Spanish!
Which phrase is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!
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