10: ¿Quando es tu cumplaños? - When is your birthday?


Early Start Spanish 1: CONTENTS | HOME

Pack 1 | Pack 2
Spanish Starter Pack
1 Greetings
2 Goodbye
3 ¿Qué tal?
4 What's your name?
5 Colours
6 Numbers 1-12
7 Ages
8 Months
9 Numbers 13 - 31
10 Birthdays
11 Days of the week
12 Today's date
13 Pets
14 Brothers & sisters
15 Consolidation /
16 En la clase

What you will learn in section 10:

Néstor's friends celebrate his birthday at the family's flat in Calahorra - His family and guests sing "Happy birthday"

Pulling Néstor's ear - a traditional Spanish custom

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Your own special days - & looking forward to being 15

You will see in the video how Spanish families celebrate young children's birthdays.

Traditionally the child's Saint's Day, or name day - el día del santo - was the child's most significant personal celebration. Each saint has their own special day in the calendar, and on that day children named after the saint receive presents.

This was part of the Catholic tradition - still strong in many families. Your Spanish family and friends will still probably wish you ¡Felicidades! as they do on your birthday.

Other special festivities when a Spanish family might have a party and give presents include el día de la Madre, Mother's Day.

One of the most interesting is la quinceañera - the fifteenth birthday, which takes place in many Latin American countries. This is a bit like the "21st" in Britain - marking the transition to adulthood. Traditionally la quinceañera celebrates the transition of a teenage girl to being a woman, announcing to her community that she is eligible for marriage. Though this would not literally be the case today, many thoroughly liberated young women still enjoy dressing up for a special party with their parents, relations and friends - who will bring appropriate gifts, like clothes and make-up.

Dressed up for a special 15th birthday celebration in the village hall
La quinceañera - find out more about this Latin American tradition:

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Email birthday cards

See: http://www.bluemountain.com/ -where you can create cards in Spanish (and also English / French/ Italian/ Chinese etc. (thanks to Dan Tierney) Pupils can select lively simply animated birthday cards, add their message in Spanish - and then send them via email.

There are also designs for Easter, Hallowe'en, Christmas, New Year, etc.

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Reading in Spanish: "Happy Birthday!"

Happy Birthday! - Spanish-English bilingual book

Start reading in Spanish with thiis delightful story:

"...Michael's party is in full swing when - oops, away fly all the colourful balloons!
Is the party spoilt or will Mum come to the rescue?

Share the story with th class on your whiteboard, with a 'Talking Big Books' CD-ROM - find out more ->

- the Book is also available, price: £

Also available as an interactive CD-ROM - find out more>

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Origin of the "Birthday Song"

"Happy Birthday to You" - where did that song come from?

In the video, you'll see children singing "Cumpleaños feliz" - "Happy Birthday to you" in Spanish - to the same tune. It's not coincidence that this song is so widespread throughout Europe. Far from being centuries-old, "trad/anon", origins lost in the mists of time - it was composed and published in the US in the 1920's.

Two sisters, Mildred Hill, a teacher with musical talents at the Louisville, Kentucky Experimental Kindergarten, and Dr. Patty Hill, the principal of the same school, together wrote a song for the children, entitled "Good Morning to All.", which they published in a collection entitled "Song Stories of the Kindergarten" in 1893.

Later in 1924, Robert H. Coleman wrote and published a second verse, the familiar "Happy Birthday to You", using the sisters' tune and original first verse without their permission.

Mr. Coleman's second verse became very popular, and eventually, the sisters' original first verse and title disappeared. - their song is now universally known as "Happy Birthday to You."

Mildred died in 1916, but Patty and a third sister Jessica, took Mr. Coleman to court, and proved that they owned the melody. Because the Hill family legally owns the song, it is entitled to royalties from it, whenever it is sung for commercial purposes.

The song appears to have been spread in western Europe either as sheet music, by radio, or by American talking films in the 20s-30s, along with the gradual switch to celebrating the child's birthday rather than their Catholic saint's/name day.

Information from http://www.uselessknowledge.com/explain/birthday.shtml, with thanks to Catherine Cheater

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Data handling software for Primary Spanish

When you introduce Spanish into the primary school curriculum, it is a good idea to use the language in otherwise familiar contexts across the curriculum.

If your class is already learning to use software for data handling, it is best to carry on using the same package for the Spanish work.

The NEW and useful elements will be:

  • they collect the data from other pupils (or whoever) using questions and answers in Spanish
  • they continue practising Spanish so far as possible when entering the data at the keyboard
  • they present their findings in graphs and diagrams labelled in Spanish

We have not found any software where all the menus and program dialogues are in Spanish. With young beginners, this would probably involve exposing them to too much and too difficult vocabulary too soon.

So we recommend using the same software that you use across the curriculum, and to discuss in English any problems that arise when you are using the program, (or the normal class language) as you would in other lessons.

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