Odd Spanish Expressions – Bringing Church to the Streets!

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Some might claim sacrilege, but in Spain it’s just the way we speak! In a country where Catholic Christianity is the most followed religion, and Semana Santa being the #1 celebration of the year, there are bound to be a few religious terms thrown here and there into the everyday Spanish language. We’ve compiled five different common expressions used in Spain, all including religious-related terms but not having anything to do with Church at all!

1. Como Dios Manda

Translation: “as God commands

When translated into English, this expression does make sense but you’ll usually only hear it in religious conversation. In Spanish, it is much more commonly used in daily situations. “Como Dios manda” refers to how things are meant to be or the proper/correct way something should be done.

Si te vas a la boda, tienes que vestirte como Dios manda.

If you’re going to the wedding, you need to dress properly. 

Haz los deberes como Dios manda.

Do the homework correctly (as expected). 

2. Ser la Hostia

Translation: “To be the sacramental bread”

When in Spain, it’s all about the bread. In this case, if you’re the sacramental bread, you’re pretty much the sh**. This expression is used to describe something or someone that is awesome and kick-ass. Yay, carbs are cool!

Me encanta salir con Marco. ¡Es la hostia!

I love hanging out with Marco. He’s awesome!

Mi profesor es la hostia, nunca nos da tarea.

My professor is so freakin’ great, he never gives us homework. 

3. Hace Menos Falta que un Perro en Misa

Translation: “It’s more unnecessary than a dog in Mass

I have seen dog-lovers take their pooches to the beach or to the mall, but I’ve never seen a dog at Church for the six o’clock Mass. This expression is used to refer to something as pointless and completely unnecessary, like a chihuahua listening to Pope Francis. Even though it would be super adorable, there is really no need at all.

¿Por qué quieres llegar al cine temprano? Los tráilers hacen menos falta que un perro en misa.

Why do you want to go the movie theatre early? The trailers don’t matter.

Lavar el coche hace menos falta que un perro en misa porque por la noche va a llover.

Washing the car is pointless because tonight it’s going to rain.

4. Estar Hecho un Cristo

Translation: “To be made a Christ

This common expression is used to describe something as appearing disorderly or a complete mess. You can also change estar to any other verb, indicating that the subject completing the action is doing so while looking messy or disorganized.

Mejor que no vayamos a mi casa porque está hecha un Cristo.

Best if we don’t go to my house because it’s a complete mess. 

Anoche salí de fiesta y por la mañana me desperté hecho un Cristo.

Last night I went out partying and in the morning I woke up a mess.

5. Ser un Viva la Virgen

Translation: “To be a hail-to-the-Virgin

While living a carefree life sounds great to most people, there is such thing as being too carefree. This colloquial expression is used to describe someone who is so careless that they avoid obligation and responsibilities.

Este chico siempre llega tarde y da excusas. Es un Viva la Virgen.

This guy is always late and gives excuses. He’s totally irresponsible.

Puedes divertirte, pero no seas un Viva la Virgen.

You can have fun, but don’t be reckless. 


– Justina


Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. After falling in love with Madrid, she started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth! In her spare time you will find Leah at some of Madrid's many museums and cultural exhibitions.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Christine
    20/01/2019 21:30

    There are so many odd Spanish expressions, It may be of interest to you to start a “collection” from your readers. My grandson, in the USA, is learning the language in school and had great success with his teacher when I sent him this article.
    I’d like to contribute this, to get you started:
    “Esta como una cabra” or more extreme “esta como una cabra cuesta=abajo en patines.”


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