Cara y Cruz

To broaden your cultural understanding of Spanish and Bolivia I present to you a look at our money.

  • English speakers say: Heads and Tails.
  • Spanish speakers say, respectively: Cara y Cruz.
  • Literal translation of these words: Face and Cross.
  • English speakers say: Let’s look at both sides of the issue.
  • Spanish speakers say, respectively: Veamos la cara y la cruz de la misma moneda.
  • Literal translation of these words: Let’s look at the face and the cross of the same coin.

In 2009 the nation where I live got a new name. We went from calling it: Republica de Bolivia (Republic of Bolivia) to Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia (Plurinational State of Bolivia). The name Bolivia comes from our great liberator Simón Bolivar.

From the trusty old source of Wikipedia you come to find out:

“…the original name given to the newly formed country was Republic of Bolívar. The name would not change to Bolivia until some days later when congressman Manuel Martín Cruz proposed: “If from Romulus comes Rome, then from Bolívar comes Bolivia” (Spanish: Si de Rómulo Roma, de Bolívar Bolivia). The name stuck and was approved by the Republic on 3 October 1825.

In 2009, a new constitution changed the country’s name from the “Republic of Bolivia” to the “Plurinational State of Bolivia” in recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of the country and the enhanced position of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples under the new constitution.

An image of the ‘cruz’ side of a coin with the former name and the current name:

Has anything changed with the new name? Racist terms have been legally banned. Holidays from cultures represented in Bolivia’s borders have been nationalized. Public documentation now includes the new name and multilingual wording.

May the inclusive nature of the name change affect the attitudes of the people. May we strive to truly take the time to “ver la cara y la cruz de la misma moneda”.

 

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