Teach the Spanish Months of The Year: January in Spanish
Enero, or January in Spanish, is the first month of the year in the Gregorian calendar, it has 31 days, and is the most important month for a lot of people!
January comes from the Latin word “iānuārius,” in reference to the Roman god Janus, who represents several elements like doors and passages, and attributes like beginnings and endings. Janus is usually depicted with two faces to represent that duality. The name “iānuārius” evolved to become January in English and Enero in Spanish.
January is taken by a lot of people like a new beginning, and because it is the first month of the year, they are not wrong! But there is so much more to January than just the New Year celebration. The first month of the year is full of celebration and days to commemorate important people and events, and those are perfect to learn and teach vocabulary about January in Spanish!
January’s Weather All Around the World
Through the year the weather changes depending on the seasons—that period of time that is distinguished by special climate conditions—and are normally divided in four: Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring.
January is the coldest month in the Northern hemisphere, but in the Southern one, January is midsummer, so it is really hot in that part of the world! And in the middle of the Earth, the part that is closer to an imaginary line called the Equator, the weather is pretty mild, that means it is not too cold, or too hot.
Here is a small vocabulary to talk about the weather of January in Spanish:
|El mes de enero||The month of January|
|Practicar snowboard||To snowboard|
|El clima templado||Mild weather|
|El hemisferio norte||North hemisphere|
|El hemisferio sur||South hemisphere|
Known also like cavanuelas or cabanuelas, is a method of forecasting or predicting the weather that has been practiced for centuries in Spain, South and Central America, the Carribean, and even parts of Africa. Las cabañuelas is a really fun tradition to learn about when learning about the month of January in Spanish.
The cabañuelistas—the experts on the art of predicting the weather through the cabañuelas— have an organization called ACECA, which stands for Asociación Cultural Española de Cabañuelas y Astrometeorología (Spain Culture Association of Cabañuelas and Astrometeorology) and they claim that the cabañuelas is an empirical science and has been practiced through several centuries by different civilizations.
Want to know how the cabañuelas are practiced? Here is the method:
- January 1st- 12th: This days weather corresponds to each one of the months of the year. This means, for example, that the weather on January 3rd will be the weather in March.
- January 13th- 24th: These days represent the months in reverse, meaning the weather on the 13th corresponds to the weather in December, and the weather on the 24th will be the weather in January.
- January 25th-30th: These last six days are divided in two. This means half of the day of the 25th represents January, and the other half February and so on.
- January 31th: This is the most important day, regarded with reverence by those who practice the cabañuelas. This last day is divided as the first 24th months of January, meaning the first 12 hours of the 31th represent the months of the year in the normal order, and the other 12 hours represent the months of the year in a reversed order.
With all that information acquired, the cabañuelistas check their methodical records to have an idea on how the weather of the months will be. It can be a little bit confusing, but for those that have practice forecasting the weather this way, it is really easy!
The Different Celebrations during January in Spanish
During January there are several different celebrations around the world, and if you want to talk with Spanish speakers about January in Spanish, it is important to have these celebrations in mind!
There are a lot of celebrations during January around the world, but the following list will focus on Latin American and Spanish celebrations:
- Día de Año Nuevo (New Year’s Day)— International
- Día Mundial de la Familia (Global Family Day)— International
- Independence Day —Haiti
- Día de la Liberación (Liberation Day) —Cuba
- Ancestry Day—Haiti
- Día de la Victoria (Victory Day) —Cuba
- Día Mundial del Braille (World Braille Day)— International
- Día del Periodista (Journalist Day)— México
- Día de Reyes or Three Kings Day—Latin America and Spain
- Día de los Mártires (Martyrs Day) — Panama
- Día de Eugenio María de Hostos (Eugenio María de Hostos Day) — Puerto RIco
- Fiesta de la Divina Pastora (Feast of Divina Pastora) — Venezuela
- Año Nuevo Ortodoxo (Orthodox New Year)— International
- Día del Maestro (Teacher’s Day) — Venezuela
- Día Nacional (National Day) —Minorca
- Día de Santa Inés (Saint Ines Day) — International
- Día del Estado Plurinacional (Plurinational State Day)— Bolivia
- Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de la Paz (Feast of Our Lady of Peace)— International
- Feria de Alasitas (Alasitas’ Fair) —Bolivia
- Día de Duarte (Duarte’s Day)— Dominican Republic
- Día del Ingeniero (Engineer’s Day)— Panama
- Día del alfabetismo en familia (Family Literacy Day) — International
- Día Internacional de conmemoración anual en memoria de las víctimas del Holocausto (International Holocaust’s Victims Memorial Day)— International
- Día de la Privacidad de Datos (Data Privacy Day) — International
- Día de Santo Tomás de Aquino (Saint Thomas of Aquinas Day)— International
- Día de Saudade (Day of Saudade)— Brazil
- Día Escolar de la No-Violencia y la Paz (School Day of Non-Violence and Peace)— International
El Día de Reyes
El Día de Reyes (King’s Day, Three Kings Day) is a celebration held on January 6 of every year that commemorates the journey and the arrival of the Three Wise Kings to Belen to visit baby Jesus. This celebration is so popular in Spain and some countries in Latin America, that in those places is more important than Christmas!
There are so many customs and traditions on how el Día de Reyes is celebrated all around Hispanoamerica that we would need a whole article about it! But here are some examples on how this holiday is celebrated in some countries:
To celebrate el Día de Reyes in Mexico, the kids write a letter to the Kings, explaining how good they were during the past year and to ask for presents. After that, people leave an old pair of shoes full of grass or hay—to feed the Kings’ camels— and some cookies and milk—for the Kings— next to a window. Next day, on January 7, those who followed these steps will find a present beside their shoes.
On the 6th, families and friends get together to share a rosca de reyes, a cake selled specially for this holiday, and on that cake there is a little surprise: a little figurine made out of plastic who will give good luck to those who find it in their piece of cake. But also, those who get it, has to prepare a parte for February 2nd to commemorate El Día de Candelaria (Candelaria’s Day), another religious holiday.
Brazil has a particular way of celebrating el Día de Reyes with an event called Folia de Reis (Revelry of Kings), which is something like a big parade, where a group of men go out on foot, on horses or even in boats singing songs about the three Wise Kings and their journey.
In the city of Bahía, a parade is held for the celebration, and those who represent the Kings stop on several houses to praise and worship baby Jesus. The owners of those houses where they stop give them food and presents as a thank you gift.
Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas time in the world, with the celebrations beginning in November, after Thanksgiving, and ending 16 days after Día de Reyes. Contrary to other countries where the celebrations are more festive and pompous, Día de Reyes has a more religious tone, with songs sung to the Reyes, who are considered Saints.
In Bolivia to celebrate Día de Reyes masses are held all around the country, but a curious tradition is to take the manger with baby Jesus on it to church for it to be blessed before storing it until next year.
Here are some vocabulary words that relate to celebrations during January in Spanish:
|El Año Nuevo||New Year|
|La celebración de Año Nuevo||New Year’s celebration|
|Las fiestas patronales||Festivities|
|La Feria Patronal||Patronal Fair|
|Una celebración internacional||International celebration|
|El Día de Reyes||The Kings Day|
|La torta de Reyes||Kings cake|
|Los tres Reyes Magos||The three wise man|
Now with this list you will be able to talk about the different holidays and celebrations during January in Spanish!
Activities for Teaching About January in Spanish
Here are some activities you can do during the first month of the year:
1. Learn a poem
January is a special month for many people, as it represents new beginnings and new opportunities, and this little portion of a sweet poem called Ya viene Enero (January is Coming) reflects on that feeling to share it with those we hold dear to our hearts:
Ya viene Enero y con él un año entero
esperamos mejores cosas para el mundo entero
Que este año venidero, sea cuna de mejores cosas
que nos lleve por sendas, más claras y luminosas
Que dejemos los intentos y hagamos cumplimientos
que alejemos las nostalgias y luchemos por cimientos
más fuertes y sinceros, caminando juntos, mano
a mano a la par y sin recelos, buscando una mejor
vida, con calidad, calidez y armonía….
Here comes January and with him a whole year
We hope for better things for the whole world.
That this coming year, be the cradle of better things
To take us along clearer and brighter paths.
That we stop trying and make compliance
that we drive away the nostalgia and fight for foundations
stronger and sincere, walking together, hand
hand in hand and without misgivings, looking for a better
life, with quality, warmth and harmony …
2. Learn a song for Día de Reyes
On January 6 a lot of countries in Latin America and Spain commemorate the day the Three Wise Kings got to the town of Belen to meet baby Jesus. On that day, families and friends get together to share a meal and sing songs about Los Reyes Magos (the Three Wise Kings). Here is one of those songs, really easy to sing along and learn!
Here is a little part of the song:
La la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la
Tan tan detrás de una estrella
Tan tan le vieron brillar
Tan tan tan pura y tan bella
Que todos le siguen por ver donde va
Here is the translation:
La la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la
Tan tan behind one star
Tan tan they saw it shine
Tan tan so pure and beautiful
That everybody follows it to see where it goes
10 January Fun Facts
Do you want to impress your spanish speaking friends with some interesting fun facts about January in Spanish? This next section is for you because you will learn 10 interesting fun facts in Spanish and English!
1. Las parejas tienden a separarse o a divorciarse más en Enero que en otros meses.
Couples tend to separate or divorce more in January than in any other month.
2. Enero siempre inicia el mismo día de la semana que Abril y Julio lo hacen cuando es año bisiesto.
January always starts the same day of the week as April and July when it is a leap year.
3. La gema del mes de enero es el granate.
The gem of the month January is garnet.
4. El calendario romano no incluía el mes de Enero ni Febrero.
The Roman calendar didn’t include the months of January and February.
5. El Rey Numa Pompilius, el segundo Rey de Roma agregó los meses de Enero y Febrero con 30 días cada uno al calendario romano.
The King Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, added the months of January and February with 30 days each to the Roman calendar.
6. El Emperador romano Julio Cesar fue quien agregó el día 31 al mes de enero y no ha cambiado desde entonces.
The Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was the one who added the 31st day to January, and it hasn’t changed since then.
7. El primero de Enero de todos los años se celebra el Desfile de las Rosas en Pasadena, California desde el año 1890.
On January 1st of every year, the Rose Parade is celebrated in Pasadena, California since 1890.
8. Hay registros de que antes de que el primer mes del año se conociera cómo “Enero” se le llamó “Wulfmonath” y “Wintermanoth” en algunas lenguas anglosajonas.
There are reports that before the first month of the year was known as “January”, it was called “Wulfmonath” and “Wintermanoth” in some Anglo-Saxon languages.
9. Enero es el mes más frío del año en el hemisferio norte.
January is the coldest month of the year in the northern hemisphere.
10. La flor del mes de Enero es el clavel.
January’s flower is the carnation.
Is Not too Late to Update Your New Year’s Resolutions!
January in Spanish speaking countries, as well as all around the world, is a really important month, and we normally set goals to achieve, but learning a new language, like Spanish is not a goal that you can set only in January, you can set it right now! Sign up for a free 1-on-1 class with a certified, native Spanish-speaking teacher and become part of the more than 24,000 enrolled students on HSA! We offer flexible schedules, tailored Spanish packages, and high school Spanish credit transcripts. What are you waiting for?
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