Spain culture and traditions – experience a different side of Spain
Spain culture and traditions have been greatly influenced by Iberian, Roman, African and Latin cultures. It’s a country with a rich artistic heritage, having numerous artists and architects famous all over the world for their creations. Spain also has numerous festivals, carnivals and traditions that are well kept and enjoyed by millions of people. Tourists will find them an interesting experience that will add flavor to their vacations.
Famous Spanish artists and architects
There are probably few people in the world that haven’t heard of famous Spanish artists such as El Greco, Francisco Goya, Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Diego Velazquez, Salvador Dali or Pablo Picasso. Their works are displayed in some of the most important museums in Spain like Prado Museum or Queen Sofia Museum. The most popular Spanish writer was Miguel de Cervantes and its main novel, El Quixote, is the second most translated book in the world.
One of the most well known architects all over the world is Antonio Gaudi. His genius works can be admired in Barcelona (like Sagrada Familia, Casa Milla or Palau Guell) and in other Spanish cities, such as Comillas (El Capricho), Leon (Casa Botines) or Sitges (Bodegas Guell)
Flamenco is a Spanish traditional dance and musical style, almost 200 years old. Characteristic to flamenco are the guitars and the long and colorful dresses women wear. The rhythms are passionate and most of the times the guitar players improvise on the spot. Although Flamenco music originates from the gypsy culture, nowadays it is a blend of blues, pop and jazz. Flamenco dancers are very graceful and have sophisticated dance moves. There are 2 principal styles – chico (a happy and lively music) and jondo (a more serious, deeper music).
La Tomatina or the tomato fight
La Tomatina is probably the biggest food fight in the world which takes place every year in Bunol, a city in Valencia, in the last Wednesday of August. It involves tens of thousands of people who are thrown hundreds of thousands kilos of tomatoes at. This awkward Spanish tradition first started in 1945 when during a carnival two young people began fighting. Although it was banned for a while, the authorities legalized it at public’s request.
The Siesta is something specific to Spaniards. Every afternoon, they take a 2 or 3 hours break, during which time all businesses, shops and restaurants are closed and all activities are shut down. As a general rule, businesses and shops close their activities between 2 PM and 5 PM and restaurants and bars are closed from 4 Pm until 8 or 9 PM. This tradition has started as a result of the hot summer weather in order to allow people to get some rest and shelter from the heat.
Traditional festivals in Spain
Spanish people love life and enjoy celebrating it through many carnivals and festivals. Apart from the national holidays and festivals, almost each town in Spain has their own traditions. Some of the most important festivals in Spain are The San Sebastian Drum Festival (a drum march that takes place in January in San Sebastian, the Basque community), The Disguised Devils (a prehistoric festival that is being held in February in Cuenca), Fallas de San Jose (in March, in Valencia), April Fair in Sevilla, Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos (In April, in Alicante), the Cordoba Patio Festival in May, Fiestas de Haro during summer, Dia de Santiago (a celebration of the patron saint of Spain on July 25th), Fiesta de Verano (in August in Malaga), La Rioja Wine Festival held in la Rioja in September, the Cadiz carnival in February or the Flamenco festival of Jerez in March.
Traditional Spanish cuisine
The climate and cultural differences in Spain reflects in its own cuisine. Most of the dishes are prepared from vegetable, fruits and sea food. Some of the most appreciated traditional dishes are Paella (a rice dish), tortilla Espanola (a kind of potato omelet), Chorizo (a paprika pork sausage) and Gazpacho (a cold tomato soup).
Tourists will find some Spain culture and traditions extremely interesting and educational, while others are more entertaining and all about having fun.