Que te pasa calabaza? Nada nada limonada

  1. Original Text: “Que te pasa calabaza? Nada nada limonada” (Spanish)
  2. Transliteration: “What is happening to you pumpkin? Nothing nothing lemonade”
  3. English translation: What’s up pumpkin? Nothing nothing lemonade”

Context: The informant is 18 and grew up in Barrington, Illinois. They are a freshman at USC, studying Theater and Anthropology. They learned this saying on the playground from friends in elementary school while involved in a dual language program in Spanish and English. “It’s ‘sort of like a greeting’”, the informant says, “similar to the popular English saying ‘see you later alligator, in a while crocodile’”. The informant describes that one person says “Que te pasa calabaza”, while another responds to the greeting by saying “Nada nada limonada”. 

Analysis: The informant is white, not Hispanic/Latino, but learned this saying from native Spanish-speaking children on the playground. There is a large percentage of Hispanic/Latino identifying individuals in the Chicago area (which includes Barrington), specifically those of Mexican descent. Therefore, the saying may be common in Mexican culture specifically, as well as in other Spanish-speaking countries. This saying reflects the playful nature of elementary-age children, taking delight in fun rhymes and games with their friends. Greetings are a way to indicate your relationship with another individual. Having a special saying in a shared language to exchange with your friends indicates closeness and shared culture.