The irony of this article is that I started it about a week prior to getting pickpocketed and once I put that bit up, it seemed a little much to talk about this phrase:
La gent és l’hòstia
It’s one of the more curious phrases in Catalan (although it exists in Castilian too) and one of those that you can’t literally translate directly as it becomes, “people are the communion wafer”. It also exists in a shortened form of “és l’hòstia” which is simply, “it’s the communion wafer”.
About the only close approximately in English that I can think of is, “the shit” as in, “those people are the shit” or “that’s the shit”. This of course would be the positive use of the phrase. It exists in a negative form as well, which is exactly the same, but emphasized slightly differently (and perhaps with more mumbling if you’re my brother in-law) given that it becomes in English, “people are shit” or “this is shit”.
It’s the negative form I’ve been hearing more of lately with examples of some winery visitor swiping one of our Priorat guides from a winery that had it and the winery manager afterwards declaring, “La gent és l’hòstia…” Or then there are some friends who worked for several months on a digital marketing proposal to only then have the people they sent it to not hire them, hire another, larger firm who then used all their work. This is most definitely a “La gent és l’hòstia…” moment.
There is great difficultly in relaying the fact that this is actually a strong declaration. If I ran around yelling at people, “You! You are the communion wafer!” it wouldn’t have much of an impact. Of course if you dig in to biblical interpretations, you will know that the communion wafer is to symbolize the body of Christ and thus this wafer is the “host” or “hòstia”. When taking that in to account it’s easier to see how it can run the full gamut of “this is shit” to “Jesus Fucking Christ”, making it a truly useful declaration.
Admittedly, despite fully realizing the meaning of this phrase, I still have trouble not giggling to myself a bit when someone calls out someone for being a communion wafer. It causes a chain reaction wherein I think about sacramental bread, get hungry and then distracted because I just want some bread and probably some wine too because Jesus was the original vintner.