Ande yo caliente riase la genteI really hope you’re enjoying this series of Discovering Spanish podcasts because I’m having a really interesting time creating them. I’m learning phrases I’d never used before, and indeed that I’d never heard of before I started asking around for Spanish proverbs and phrases.

I’m also digging around to find out the origin of these phrases so it’s helping me discover some traditions and events that led to some of these traditions.

Today I’m going to look at a phrase that I’ve been using all my life, for reasons I will share in a second. I’ve been using it in a literal way and only when I’ve looked at it in more depth for this podcast, have I realised that it’s sometimes used more metaphorically and, surprisingly, that it actually comes from a poem by Gongora. Well, I don’t know whether that where it comes from or whether it was already in use when he lived.

Diego_Rodríguez_de_Silva_y_Velázquez_-_Luis_de_Góngora_y_Argote_-_Google_Art_ProjectLuis de Gongora y Argote was a Spanish poet who lived between 1561 1627, and I really didn’t expect this phrase to have its origin so lo long ago. It just goes to show how strong the aural tradition can be. Makes me wonder whether any phrases created over the past few years will still be used in hundreds of years in the future.

Ok, without further ado, here’s the phrase:

Ande yo caliente, riase la gente.

(I walk around feeling warm, people laugh at me.)

As I said earlier, I’ve always used this phrase literally because I am someone that is usually quite cold. And no, I really don’t think it’s just because I’m Spanish – although it might well have to do with the fact that I did grow up in a home and school with central heating. It’s probably got to do more with the fact that I have poor circulation.

So, in Winter, you’ll often see me wearing ridiculously big coats, plus scarf and gloves. Maybe even a wooly hat. I rarely wear high heels regardless of the weather, but in Winter, you’ll never see me wearing nice shoes, because they’re usually quite open and my feet get cold. Closed, winter shoes for me, with thick socks. In summary, I don’t usually look very glamorous. So, ande you caliente, ríase la gente.

The phrase can also be used less literally. If you need to take a decision and you decide to stick to your guns and your values rather than follow the crowd, you can also use the phrase. Or if you like doing things in a certain way that don’t quite follow convention or traditions, then you’re also comfortable with what you’re doing (you are warm) and it’s ok if people laugh at you for it.

A word of warning here: “caliente” has now also made into Spanish lingo as meaning “horny”, so, beware of saying “estoy caliente” when what you might mean is “tengo calor” or, if all you mean is that you’re warm and comfortable, an ordinary “estoy bien” might do.

And now for my unexpected discovery. I’m sure if you’re Spanish or if you have a deep knowledge of the Spanish language, you already knew this. But I didn’t know that this expression either came from Góngora’s poem, or I imagine, more likely, it was already around in the 16th century and Góngora used it as inspiration. I thought it would be a good idea to include the poem here, as a bonus, although I’ll have to find an English translation for you to have a look at, as I don’t think I’ll ever do it justice myself.


Andeme yo caliente y ríase la gente
de Luis de Góngora y Argote

Traten otros del gobierno
del mundo y sus monarquías,
mientras gobiernan mis días
mantequillas y pan tierno;
y las mañanas de invierno
naranjada y aguardiente,
y ríase la gente.

Coma en dorada vajilla
el Príncipe mil cuidados
como píldoras dorados,
que yo en mi pobre mesilla
quiero más una morcilla
que en el asador reviente,
y ríase la gente.

Cuando cubra las montañas
de blanca nieve el enero,
tenga yo lleno el brasero
de bellotas y castañas,
y quien las dulces patrañas
del Rey que rabió me cuente,
y ríase la gente.

Busque muy en buena hora
el mercader nuevos soles;
yo conchas y caracoles
entre la menuda arena,
escuchando a Filomena
sobre el chopo de la fuente,
y ríase la gente.

Pase a media noche el mar
y arda en amorosa llama
Leandro por ver su dama;
que yo más quiero pasar
del golfo de mi lagar
la blanca o roja corriente,
y ríase la gente.

Pues Amor es tan cruel
que de Píramo y su amada
hace tálamo una espada,
do se junten ella y él,
sea mi Tisbe un pastel
y la espada sea mi diente,
y ríase la gente.

Post recording: I haven’t found a translation of the poem yet, anyone up for it?


If you have any favourite Spanish phrases, then do send them through, let me know. You can contact me via Twitter @aspanishculture. I hope you have a good day, Hasta luego.


Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez – Luis de Góngora y Argote – Google Art Project” by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599 – 1660) (Spanish) (By, Details of artist on Google Art Project) – AQFzVa7BHaHlNA at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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