Made up of 17 separate communities each with a unique culture and feel, Spain is known as a geographically large country which a common thread runs throughout all different regions. Certainly, coming to Spain, don’t miss a chance to experiencing Spanish culture. Here are some guides for you.
Castellano is the official Spanish language of Spain and is spoken across the country. There are however several regional dialects as well as officially recognised languages in Galicia, Catalonia and the Basque country. Castillian Spanish is, however, spoken in these regions too, so learning Spanish ensures you will be understood wherever you travel in Spain.
Eating and drinking is an integral part of Spanish culture. Lunch is the most important meal of the day and is usually eaten any time between around 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Traditionally, Spanish people leave their place of work at lunchtime to eat with the family, something that still happens today.
The evening meal is Spain is generally eaten at around 10pm or later. In bars and restaurants, Spanish people often share a selection of small plates (tapas), which would typically include cured hams and meats, regional cheeses, perhaps some seafood and a slice of tortilla (Spanish omelette).
The bar is the hub of Spanish society. People of all ages and backgrounds congregate in bars to discuss the day’s events over a coffee, wine or beer.
Visit a bar around 8pm during the week and it will generally be packed with workers discussing the hot topics of the day. Although a few bars have bans in place, smoking is still very much part of Spanish life. Bars generally empty as everyone goes home for dinner, then start to fill up again towards midnight when the Spanish head out for the night.
Visit Spain during the summer months and you are sure to have the opportunity to visit a carnival or fiesta. Each town and village has at least one fiesta each year, offering the chance for young and old to get together and celebrate. Expect a lively mix of drinking and dancing that can continue for several days.
If they’re not taking part, they’re watching on TV or talking about it. From basketball to tennis, the Spanish love sport. As you would expect of a country which is the reigning European champion, football is hugely popular. Other popular sports include basketball, tennis, cycling and motor sports.
Bull fighting is a sport which divides opinion in Spain as much as overseas. Many Spanish people view it as a noble display of finesse and courage, whilst others consider it nothing more than a barbaric display of animal cruelty. Whatever you may think about bull fighting, it is an important part of Spanish culture.
Generally speaking, the Spanish are a gregarious and sociable race. Compared to those in the UK or the United States, the Spanish spend far more time outside of their own homes. Whether on the beach or in a bar, the Spanish love to talk and appreciate the simple pleasures of good food and drink.
Article by Michael R Browne for Linguarama.
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