Over the years, our weekly social event named “Noche de Guateque” has become a signature of the school’s identity. The purpose of taking our students out every week and discover Puerto Vallarta’s bars, restaurants or to cultural activities, is not – as many of you probably think – only to get everyone shitfaced and bet on who will make it to class the next day or not. (Although, I’m not gonna lie, we all know that it has happened in the past on numerous occasions and it is very likely to happen again some time in the future).
However, believe it or not, this weekly gathering actually has a real raison d’être: our motto states “living it is learning it”, and we truly believe that the easiest, fastest and most lasting way of learning a language is to get out there, experience the real Mexican life and actually speak Spanish with the locals. Usually students, members of the school’s team, and friends (who are mostly locals and native Mexicans) meet, creating a very international atmosphere, thus allowing locals and students to become friends, and students to practice their Spanish in real life, outside of class, without any pressure whatsoever.
What does Guateque even mean?
The word “Guateque” literally means party or house party, and apparently finds its origins in the mukuchi language, an aboriginal language from the area of Mérida (Venezuela), which is now extinct. The word slowly made its way up to the Caribbean and reached Mexico at the end of the 19th Century. The word was used to describe informal parties held in someone’s house, where the emphasis was set on dancing, eating (a lot!) and having a good time. Later on, the meaning slightly changed to describe a more intimate and simple reunion with close friends and family at home. It was very in vogue in the fifties and sixties, and back then it was generally meant to describe parties for young people, who would gather to dance to the currents hits, drink sodas (I am very curious to know if it actually was only sodas they were drinking) and eat canapés.
Nowadays, the word is not that popular anymore, but we love the idea of a joyful reunion, and thought that it was well suited to the vibe that habitually perspires from our Noche de Guateque.
Have you ever attended one? Share your experience of it in the comments!
(No picture will be censored, all bets are off!)