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: “Apartment for rent five minutes from the beach; if you trip, it’s only one minute!”
What does it meme?: Basically, to be cautious when getting excited about rental listings! Seriously, though: I often joke that “safety third!” is Mexico’s official motto when it comes to building everything from public infrastructure to private homes, and this photograph proves the rule.
Mexicans, of course, take this kind of thing in stride: unlike the U.S. where the builder of something like this would get sued fairly quickly, the prevailing wisdom in Mexico is simply, “Well, watch where you’re going!”
Meme translation: “Well, well, another pregnant lady on Earth! Woosh, woosh, take that, you little brat!” → “Aha! You can’t hurt my child, I’m wearing a red ribbon, and some safety pins just in case. Double protection!”
What does it meme?: Every culture has superstitions around pregnancy (and everything else, I guess), and this is a prominent one in Mexico: if you’re pregnant during a solar eclipse, then you need some extra protection to keep the phenomenon from hurting the fetus. What protection do you need, you might ask? Why, a red ribbon tied around your pregnant belly of course, and safety pins (or at least something metal) for good measure. It sounds pretty wild to most people, but if you think about it, we all have our superstitions and rituals to guard against what often feels like the random and uncontrollable cruelty of nature at large.
Meme translation: “OBJECTIVE: Go running every morning.” → “OBSTACLE: Running is what cowards do.”
What does it meme?: If you need an excuse to not exercise, look no further – you can simply claim you’re brave! Like everyone everywhere, excuses for avoiding exercises are the absolute easiest to come up with.
Meme translation: “I only spent $30 (about $2 USD) on breakfast at the market, and instead of spending $250 ($15 USD) on an Uber, I took the bus…Now I have diarrhea and I’m lost.”
What does it meme?: In Mexico (depending on where you live of course), it’s possible for 10,000 pesos to be enough for the month, and for 100,000 pesos to be not nearly enough for the month. While some of that depends on location, much of it depends on lifestyle.
If you’re not used to eating in places that may or may not have excellent sanitary ratings, doing so can be both an adventure and a risk. And before boarding a bus, be sure to ask where it goes…and perhaps ask the conductor or a fellow passenger to let you know where to get off for good measure!
Meme translation: “Spotify: I’m sorry, you were off by one letter, we can’t find that song.” → “YouTube: endaaaaaaa iaaaaaa…”
What does it meme?: There’s a whole genre of funny videos and audios of people requesting English-language songs with the lyrics of what they think is being said in Spanish. But some people (and apps) are better at guessing than others! Here, we sing the praises of YouTube over Spotify search engines!
Meme translation: “All people know how to do is complain instead of enjoying everything the country has to offer.”
What does it meme?: Ask a Mexican what, on a philosophical level, Mexico’s problem is, and quite a few will point out the collective Mexican psyche, usually calling it “hypocritical.” “People complain about everything but they’re perfectly happy contributing to the problems,” they might say…follow them down this road of reflection, and they’ll usually admit to doing the same.
But sometimes, there’s a moment of clarity and appreciation for what’s special about their lives…and this fabulous meme is a spoof on that.
Meme translation: “My mom: go to the store to see if there are any nochebuenas (the word for poinsettias in Spanish), and bring some home if there are.” → “Me, back from the store.”
What does it meme?: If you’ve been in Mexico around Christmastime, you might know about one of its famous seasonal beers, which shares its name with the famous seasonal plant (and native plant to Mexico!), the poinsettia. And unlike other places in North America, it’s plenty common to send your kids to the store to fetch some beer!
Noche Buena is made by Bohemia, which is my favorite commercial beer here (that’s saying a lot, as I’m kind of an insufferable beer snob). It’s heavy and alcoholic, a good way to warm up on some cold winter nights that just hit different in the absence of central climate control. Just be sure to drink it earlier rather than later in the season – unlike wine, beer is best enjoyed fresh!
Thankfully, showing up with a case of this instead of a plant won’t likely anger too many people.
Sarah DeVries is a writer and translator based in Xalapa, Veracruz. She can be reached through her website, sarahedevries.substack.com.