If you are a fan of Hispanic culture, Spanish music, or have a Spanish-speaking friend, you may have come across the term ‘besos’. It is a common phrase in the Spanish language, and it’s one that you definitely need to know if you’re learning Spanish or planning to visit a Spanish-speaking country.
The word ‘besos’ is Spanish and it translates to ‘kisses’ in English. This single word carries much cultural significance and understanding it helps get a better grasp of Spanish-speaking cultures.
‘Besos’ is not just used in a literal sense, for example when two people exchange kisses. It’s also used socially and colloquially, much like the word ‘kisses’ is used in English.
In formal settings or when ending a letter, a Spanish person might write ‘besos’ or ‘un beso’ (a kiss) much like an English speaker may write ‘best’ or ‘kind regards’. It is a kind of signature sign-off and is understood to be a warm and friendly gesture.
More informally, ‘besos’ can be used in speaking or text messaging, as a casual way to say goodbye to friends or loved ones. For instance, after a meal with friends, one might leave the table saying “Adios, besos!” This loosely translates to “Goodbye, kisses!”
In some Spanish-speaking cultures, it is also common to greet or bid others farewells with actual, physical besos. Generally, this involves light pecks on the cheeks and is seen as a mark of respect or affection. Note that the norms differ from one culture to another and from one social context to another. While friends and family might greet each other with besos, it’s considered inappropriate in professional scenarios such as a business meeting.
Another interesting cultural point is the concept of ‘dos besos’, which means ‘two kisses’. In Spain, particularly, it is a traditional greeting that involves kissing the air while touching cheeks, first on the right cheek and then the left. Although it’s important to note that due to global health concerns, this tradition may be less commonly practiced now.
However, it is significant to mention that interpretations and connotations can vary slightly depending on the region. Latin America, for example, may follow a slightly different usage or social norms for ‘besos’ than Spain.
In a nutshell, ‘besos’ means ‘kisses’ in Spanish, but it carries a wealth of cultural nuances and subtleties that go beyond a straightforward translation. It is a term of familiarity, affection, and friendliness proudly carried by the Spanish language and its beloved speakers throughout the world.