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.