Urban dictionary to defend yourself in León


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We have already told you that this year León is the Spanish Capital of Gastronomy, so either you have already planned a visit or you are about to buy your AVE tickets to plant in two hours from Madrid in the city of Bernesga and thus discover the incredible cuisine practiced in the capital (and also in the rest of the province).

That is why you will need some basic notions of our idioms, of those words and expressions that we use on a day-to-day basis, believing to share with the rest of Spaniards, but which are actually as own as the first Cortes of History held in 1188 and that we they have earned the legitimacy and the title of 'Cradle of European Parliamentarianism' by Unesco.

Before someone is taken for granted or forgotten … Yes, we know that many of them have been taken or shared with our neighbors in Asturias, Cantabria, Palencia, Valladolid, Zamora and Galicia, but that is interesting about the language, which mutates, evolves, expands, mixes, dilutes. Linguistic domains are not absolute and that is a guarantee of permanence.

Grafiti del artista leonés David Esteban en la calle de la Paloma, con la Catedral de León de fondo.

Graffiti of the Leon artist David Esteban on Calle de la Paloma, with the León Cathedral in the background. © David Esteban


To begin with, we are going to make a simple approximation so that later we do not get unexpected surprises, because here everyone seems to have it clear and then it happens as with Correos, which illustrates a stamp dedicated to Leon with the Cathedral of Burgos (hey, it is beautiful also, but it turns out that it is in Burgos).

The first thing you need to know is that Leon's countrymen are very clear that our city is the most beautiful in the world. We respect that you do not think the same, but in that (unlikely) case, we are governed by a popular saying that says: "If you do not like León, there you have the station", referring to the raised arm of the statue of Guzman the Good in the homonymous square of the capital and pointing towards the bus station (and for a few years also to the train station, which changed location due to technical needs of the AVE).

If you don't like León there you have… .. #igersleonesp #leonesp #turismo A shared publication of Turismo de León (@leonturismo) on 31 Mar, 2016 at 7:53 PDT

And it is not that we are bad hosts, because in Léon we do not judge people by their appearance or their way of being, we do not care that someone is like a 'trullo' (fat), nor that he is a 'gijas' (smudged), or that is 'modorro' (dumb) or like a cowbell (crazy); Nor does an Adam (scruffy) arrive.

Nor are we 'cuzos' (gossips), nor do we make esparavanes (aspavientos), but if you are restless we will not throw it in your face, we will only tell you that 'you have a scourge' … We are not to talk, that we are 'manage' : we are cazurros and stubborn as an arao (stubborn) and sometimes, not many, we have someone crossed (we do not just like him) or we have 'chined' (angry) with him.

En León tenemos bares para acoger a todo tipo de viajeros.

In León we have bars to welcome all types of travelers. © Alamy


This spring, the Faceira Association, dedicated to the study, dissemination, protection and projection of the cultural, historical and linguistic heritage of León, launched a campaign on social networks in order to choose the most 'beautiful' (beautiful) Leon words . Ten words that will represent León in the Pavilion of Languages ​​of the European Capitals of Culture 2018, in Ljouwert (Netherlands), until October and that join an initiative that seeks to give visibility to linguistic diversity in Europe .

How could it be otherwise, among the most voted words appeared the verb to lend, which in Leon has nothing to do with leaving something to water temporarily, but means to like or please. So if a Leonese tells you to lend him, you are on the right track.

Loom (weaving machine) was also another of the chosen ones, but we also used it to refer to an unusable item or object. I don't tell you anything anymore if we wait for you a "I don't know what looms hit me", something like a 'I don't know what he meant by all that', when you tell someone that someone else told you something by turning too many times to a business or messing up the conversation

I have always imagined a T-shirt in the style of "From lost to the river" ('From lost to the river'), only with a message translated from Leon: "I don't know what knitting machines brought me together."

En León no vamos al mercado, vamos a la Plaza, ya que en la Plaza Mayor es donde se coloca el mercado al aire libre.

In León we do not go to the market, we go to the Plaza, since in the Plaza Mayor is where the outdoor market is placed. © Alamy

Other words were chosen for their loudness: 'fervienza' (waterfall), 'ilumbreiru' (rural lighting system), 'panxulina' (butterfly), 'lignard' (melancholy) and 'xeitu' (with art or style). To be honest, even I am not familiar with them.

Some Leon customs deeply rooted in the popular imaginary also found a place in this selection made by Faceira, as 'facendera' to refer to community work and 'filandón', which is when women gathered at night in front of the fire to perform tasks such as knit, sew or spin. 'Llariega', the kitchen fire, completes the list.


If we talk about customs, we would like you to know that in Leon we do not go to the market, we go to the square, since every Wednesday and Saturday in the Plaza Mayor of the capital a flood of fruit, vegetables and sausages stands with the that the most partying of the capital end up crossing early on Saturday morning on the way home from the Humid (the city march zone).

En León nos 'presta' mucho contar que un topo gigante destruía cada noche los trabajos de construcción de la catedral.

In León, it 'lends' us a lot to tell that a giant mole destroyed the construction work of the cathedral every night. © Getty Images

That we appreciate our cathedral, the Pulchra Leonina so much, has a lot to do with its French-style gothic beauty, but also with the effort of those builders who each morning stood up with the intention of continuing to lift this majestic building and found that a giant mole had destroyed all the work of the previous day. This picturesque story that we were told as children gives us a lot of play with foreign visitors, to whom we proudly show them the skin of the huge mammal exposed above the San Juan gate.

It is of no use that the director of the Museum of the Cathedral of León, Máximo Gómez Rascón, has clarified on several occasions that several researchers from the University of León confirmed in the 1990s that it was actually the shell of a leatherback turtle, for us it's the skin of a giant mole, period!

Ah! And do not even think about leaving the Cathedral without putting your head through the hollow of the grave in which, as tradition dictates, you have to ask for three wishes that will be granted to you. I have not done it for years, but I remember that it causes laughter and anguish alike.

¿Qué misterio se oculta en la real Colegiata de San Isidoro de León?

What mystery is hidden in the real Collegiate Church of San Isidoro de León? © Getty Images


A story that not many know is that in the museum of the Royal Collegiate Church of San Isidoro de León is what could be the Holy Grail of the Last Supper of Christ. This is witnessed by doctors Margarita Torres Sevilla and José Miguel Ortega del Río ("Los Reyes del Graial", ed. Kingdom of Cordelia, Madrid 2014), who have managed to place the relic in Palestine in the first century AD A bowl of Roman agate which, according to this historical investigation, would have been revered since the fourth century AD

Known as the chalice of Mrs. Urraca, the infanta from Leon to which it was donated, do not be blinded by its sumptuous current appearance (we know that you have seen in Indina Jones that if it is gold it cannot be the glass of a carpenter). It turns out that the daughter of King Ferdinand I and Sancha had him decorated in 1063 with gold, silver, amethysts, emeralds, sapphires …

We feel the disappointment, but it will not be possible for you to fill it with water to achieve eternal life, the most you can aspire to is to 'manipulate it' thanks to a new virtual reality service implemented by HP that allows you to see it in 3D with some special glasses

Panteón de los Reyes, en la Real Colegiata de San Isidoro, en León, donde aseguran se encuentra el Santo Grial de Cristo.

Pantheon of the Kings, in the Royal Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, in León, where they say is the Holy Grail of Christ. © Getty Images

You are already informed of all our legends, stories, dimes and diretes, words and idioms from Leon, but 'you will endure more' (you will arrive earlier or you will go faster) if you come to know us and let us instruct you in the first person.

Of course, do not even think about confusing the cathedral of León with that of Burgos, because we will 'china', we will not roll up with you anymore (to speak, the verb has nothing to do with how to link with a lion) and we will have you crossed for all eternity (never underestimate someone who has the Holy Grail in their possession).

En León sólo nos 'chinaremos' contigo si confundes nuestra catedral con la de Burgos.

In León we will only 'china' with you if you confuse our cathedral with that of Burgos. © Getty Images