3 Vital Cultural Rules in Argentina You Must Know When You Travel to Argentina

3 Vital Cultural Rules In Argentina (You MUST Know These)

You probably already know this, but even though I’m Venezuelan, I’ve been living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for quite some time, and I know the city both as a resident and a tourist. So, today I’ll tell you tres de las reglas culturales más importantes en Argentina (three of the most important cultural rules in Argentina)!

Argentina is a big country with a lot of history, and a lot of different cultural influences from Europe and other parts of Latin America.

They’re very passionate about their traditions and country. So, if you want to blend in smoothly when you travel to Argentina, try and keep up with these cultural rules.

1. A food in Argentina that is much more than barbecue: El asado 

If there is anything that Argentina is known for worldwide is its meat, so much so, that one of the most important traditions throughout the country is el asado. I guess you could say that means “the barbecue”, but it’s actually much more than that!

cultural rules in argentina about el asado

It’s a great opportunity for friends and family to gather and celebrate any occasion! If you ever have the fortune to get invited to an asado, then get another notch on your belt because you’re in for a real carnivore feast, donde el cerdo, la carne, el cordero, el vino y el fernet (where pork, beef, lamb, wine and Fernet) get together in a meat devouring, yummy-tasting, friend-making, joy-engulfing great experience!

Even though most of the time you spend in an asado you’ll be gorging down on grilled food or chugging some wine, fernet or cerveza (beer), you still should know some vocabulary to ask for more chimichurri or llamar una ambulancia (call an ambulance) after the food comma you’ll get!

So, let’s learn some chunks you’ll hear in an asado:

  • Che, ¿armamos una picada para la espera? (So, shall we set up a picada in the meantime?)
  • ¿Me pasás el fernet? (Can you pass the fernet to me?)
  • ¿Quién quiere pan? (Who wants some bread?)
  • ¿Quedó algún choricito? (Are there any sausages left?)
  • ¡Un aplauso para el asador! (An ovation for the asador!) 

Asado is such an extense topic that we could even have our own lesson about it!

2. An Argentinian drink: El Mate

As I said before, Argentina is a cultural melting pot of European and Latin American roots. The Argentinian mate originated in Northern Argentina, with the Guaraní indigenous culture.

cultural rules in argentina about el mate

Mate can be drunk all throughout the day, but it is most popular during la merienda de la tarde (the afternoon snack time). Mate is a tea made with yerba mate leaves, poured into a Gourd and drunk through una bombilla, which is a metal straw that prevents the leaves from being sucked in.

There are some traditions never to be broken around la ceba del mate (the pouring of the mate tea). So, make sure you learn them:

  • El mate se toma en grupo. (Mate is drunk in groups.) —This is not a strict rule, as you can drink your mate on your own.
  • Solo el líder puede cebar el mate. (Only the leader, who normally is the mate gourd owner, can pour the tea and pass it to the group)
  • La bombilla no se mueve. (The bombilla straw never moves.)
  • Cuando ya no quieras más, entregá el mate y decí “gracias”. (When you’re done, give the mate to the leader and say “thank you”.)

You can give the mate as many rounds as there is hot water and good conversation, but once you’ve had enough, give it back to the leader and say “thank you”. That will let them know you’re done and don’t want any more tea.

  • El mate se puede disfrutar con facturas. (The mate tea can be enjoyed with facturas)

Facturas are sweet little pastries combined with dulce de leche (milk caramel) or crema pastelera (sweet pastry cream). ¡Cae como piña! (Fits like a glove! Literally: Falls like a pineapple!)

Important note for my German friends: Club Mate soda? Not a thing!

3. When you travel to Argentina, respect: El fútbol

Oh boy! Where should I start here: screams, curse words, joy, chants, anthems, euphoria, cheering, heart attacks, street celebrations, historical rivalries… you name it! ¡El fútbol argentino lo tiene todo! (Argentinian soccer has it all!)

cultural rules in argentina about el futbol

It’s no surprise two of the best soccer players in the history of soccer come from Argentina: Messi and Maradona.

El fútbol is a very important part of Argentinian culture, and everyone has a favorite team.

Let’s review some chunks to talk about soccer and avoid getting una tarjeta roja (a red card) in your conversations with Argentinians:

  • El superclásico se juega entre El Boca Juniors y El River Plate. (The Super derby match is played between Boca Juniors and River Plate.)

This important event is contested between Argentina’s two most popular and successful teams: Buenos Aires rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors.

  • Argentina tiene tres copas del mundo. (Argentina has three world cups.)

The Argentinian national team is one of the eight to have won the FIFA World Cup — three times! Argentina has also won the top continental tournament —the Copa América— 15 times! So, they take a lot of pride in their soccer. 

  • ¡Mi equipo la rompe mal, boludo! (Literally, my team breaks it bad.)

But the actual meaning of this chunk would be something like “my team is the best of them all!” Argentinians are very passionate about their teams. You’ll hear them scream with joy and praise their favorite players when they win, but also… curse them like pirates when they screw up.

4. Learn more about cultural rules in Argentina and etiquette with FREE Spanish Training

¿Así que qué crees, che? (So what do you think, mate?) Do you think you’re ready to approach your Argentinian friends and invite them to an asado, drink mate, or ver un partido de fútbol juntos (watch a soccer match together)?

We have a whole series of Spanish beginner videos. So, feel free to check out the other videos on our channel! 

We also have a free Spanish training on our website where you’ll discover the method we use in our Spring Spanish Academy to teach students to speak fluent Spanish. You also get some free sample Spanish lessons there that come straight from our Academy!

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