Wednesday, June 19, 2024

What does it meme? December edition

If you’re on a quest to understand Mexican humor – or at least to find the best Mexican memes to share with your friends – we’ve got you covered! Here’s this week’s curated collection with a translation, background, any relevance to current events, and hopefully, a good chuckle.

Meme translation: “When the game is loading and you see your reflection in the television.”

What does it meme? I don’t know about you all, but the combination of the colder weather and often sad world news has me spending a lot of time inside staring at the TV, where it’s easy to forget what you should be doing for an episode or six.

This particular meme is for people playing video games, but I see a similar image when the following episode is loading! Maybe it’s time to get up and do something!

Meme translation: “December begins.” “The fish right away:” (And yes, that’s a Bacardi bottle and a can of Modelo beer.)

What does it meme? This is a reference to a popular Christmas carol in Spanish, Los Peces en el Rio. The second part of the chorus goes, “Beben y beben y vuelven a beber; los peces en el río por ver a Dios nacer.” (In English: They drink and they drink, and they drink again; the fish in the river will soon see God as he is born.) 

I’ve never really understood the song – do fish “drink” water? And how does drinking water help them see the Baby Jesus? – but it’s a popular one that most people learn as kids, and it’s sweet. Anyway!

“To drink,” in Spanish, just like in English, can mean to drink alcohol, and “in the river” (en el río) can double as “by the river.” Looks like these fish have found a nice loophole in the lyrics! 

Meme translation: “My ex when they tell their version of the story.”

What does it meme? I’ve hinted before in a few articles that Mexicans can fall a bit on the dramatic side when it comes to the ending of relationships: to hear people tell it, every woman is “crazy,” “lazy,” and possibly secretly abusive, and every man is a cheater and a player who only wants some kind of cross between a mother/servant and a friend with benefits.

Judging from the way my ex’s current partner refuses to look or smile at me, I’m guessing that according to him, I’m about as unstable and neglectful as they come. Alas, I might not ever know!

Meme translation: “Today we’ll be making origami with your victim paper (role).”

What does it meme? The reason this works as a joke is because of the word papel, which can mean both “paper” and “role” in Spanish. Easy enough to remember, right?

So, who is this person? Why, it’s the beloved Cositas (which means “little things”), famous for teaching children crafts – like origami! – on her TV show. She was on during the times of Barney, that big purple dinosaur, and was (from what I understand – I was never a kid in Mexico) about as popular.

This clever blow, coming from Señorita Cositas? Burn.

Meme translation: “I hereby inaugurate the message: ‘We need to get together before the end of the year.’”

What does it meme? If you’re a busy señora like me, you’re probably struggling to find the time to hang out with anyone not in your immediate family or work circle right now. But it’s already December, so if suddenly, you realize you haven’t seen your good friends in the past few months, now’s the time. And with so many holiday events just around the corner, surely you’ll find the time, right? Riiiiiight.

These messages have already started to arrive in my own chats with friends, with a tentative posada date of December 15th. Will we? Won’t we? So much could happen: extended work assignments, sick kids, sick us…only time will tell.

Meme translation: “What I imagine when people say ‘magical town.’”

What does it meme? Mexico’s “magical towns” has been a wildly successful government program that gears funds towards lovely smaller communities that people might not otherwise hear about, in order to showcase their charm and attract both local and international tourism.

“Magical towns” is a great name if you ask me, and when I hear it, I think more about the magical realism literary style than actual magic going on there. Even so, a cow flying through the air is quality entertainment, so I had to include this one! 

Meme translation: “Trees during Christmas.” “The birds in their nests.”

What does it meme? I’ve seen several versions of this meme – oddly, only in Spanish – and it cracks me up every time. In my city, we’ve got a lot of birds, and I’ll admit…we don’t often stop to ask ourselves if the lights bother them when they’re sleeping!

Incidentally, a friend of mine has surely been looking exactly like this guy for the past few nights: her neighbors put up flashing Christmas lights that they never turn off, and they’re those bright LED lights that I always say should be illegal. 

Why doesn’t she go and ask them to turn them off after a certain time? I asked. But alas, no one ever thinks that directly confronting someone, even kindly and openly, is a good idea around here.

Sarah DeVries is a writer and translator based in Xalapa, Veracruz. She can be reached through her website,

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