mary magdalene, llorar como una magdalena

Mary Magdalene weeps over the body of Christ.

Real quick I just thought I’d share with you an interesting new expression I learned today from one of my Spanish tutors, Silvia (she’s very good, check her out if you’re in the market!), when I realized it would make a great 3rd installment in our Learn Spanish for Real series!  What did Silvia say to me that inspired this post?

Vas a llorar como una Magdalena

The context of this was gas prices (petrol prices, for our British friends 😉 ).  We were talking about the possibility of me renting a car while in Spain (probably not), which then led to comparing gas prices between the U.S. and Spain, which led to her saying “Cuando llegas a la gasolinera, vas a llorar como una Magdalena.”  I had never heard this expression before so she explained.  It’s very interesting.

Spain, previously having been a very Catholic country (not so much now, only on paper but not in practice really), has a lot of expressions based in Catholicism and the bible – this is one of them.  “Vas a llorar” means “you’re going to cry” (“vas” is the informal way of saying “you are” with the verb “ir“, “llorar” is the infinitive of the verb meaning “to cry”), whereas “Magdalena” means Maria Magdalena, or Mary Magdalene as we know her in English.  So what the expression is saying is “You’re going to cry like Mary Magdalene.”

Why was Mary Magdalene chosen to express this?  Because she’s known for crying.  In the Bible it makes a point of stating that she cries when her brother dies, when Christ is crucified, and on several different occasions when she repents for her sins.

Interestingly, there’s even a song called “Llorando como una Magdalena”, though regrettably I can’t find the origin of it so I can’t tell you where or when it got started, but there are several performances of it on YouTube if you’re interested:

Thanks to Significado y Origen de Expresiones Famosas for the background information.

I learned to speak conversational Spanish in six months using TV shows, movies, and even comics: I then wrote a book on how you can, too

I have a whole method and a book I wrote about it called The Telenovela Method where I teach you how to learn Spanish from popular media like TV shows, movies, music, books, etc. that you can all find online for free.  It was the #1 new release in the Spanish Language Instruction section on Amazon for nearly a month after it came out and currently has 17 reviews there with a 4.9/5 stars average.  It's available for $7.99-$9.99 for the e-book version depending on who you buy it from (Kindle version on Amazon is now $7.99) and $16.99 for the paperback (occasionally a bit cheaper, again, depending on who you buy it from).

It's currently available in both e-book and paperback from:


The previous edition of Learn Spanish for Real was (if you’re interested)…

Learn Spanish for Real #2: “Carajo” | Slang, Expressions, and Curse Words

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