Catalan Idioms: Watch out! You will get dumped with a pumpkin!

“Because we are convinced that culture can cross borders, this site is created for those of you who want to understand better our culture and language” Have you ever been dumped? Or have you ever dumped someone? How did it go? Was it face to face, by text message? You might be asking what has a... View Article


“Because we are convinced that culture can cross borders, this site is created for those of you who want to understand better our culture and language”

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Have you ever been dumped? Or have you ever dumped someone? How did it go? Was it face to face, by text message?

You might be asking what has a pumpkin to do with being dumped. There is a curious idiom in Catalan which has two different meanings. Both meanings has a negative connotation of failure or refusal. Which idiom are we talking about? “Donar carbassa” that can be literally translated as “give pumpkin”. Any clue when it can be used? Curious about the origin of this peculiar sentence?

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One of the meanings is use to said that you have failed an exam. You can either say “the teacher dona carbasses or I have received a carbassa

We can also use this sentence to say that we have been dumped by our girlfriend or boyfriend. And the origin shows that the meaning of this idiom is literally to give someone a pumpkin.

As part of the tradition and culture of the country, when a boy wanted to be engaged with a girl, he had to go to the girl’s house to talk with her family about interests and dowries. Before he left, they agreed to meet again a few weeks from the first meeting, to give time to both families to try to discover if what the other family said was true and to gossip a little about their history and surroundings. As the celebration of this second lunch was also at the girl’s family house, if the boy’s family wasn’t interested in the agreement, they didn’t even attend the reunion. If it was the girl’s family who didn’t accept the other family, they will serve to the boy a dish of cooked pumpkin.

So be careful if you are invited to lunch, as you can get a double serving of pumpkin.

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Is there a similar expression in English? Have you ever heard this Catalan expression before? Do you have any anecdote that you want to share with us? You can find us on the main social networks: FacebookTwitter or Google +

And if you want to collaborate with us, you can send us your email with your proposal. We promise not “to give you pumpkin”


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