Spain is a country full of interesting history. The colorful traditions and Spanish culture facts dominate life in Spain. Many aspects of Spanish culture and traditions have spread to Spanish-speaking countries.
Famous around the world for its dance, beaches, sunshine, and traditions, Spain is one of the cultural centers of Europe.
Spain has an extraordinary heritage. Fun fact: Spain is home to many languages. Regions of Spain speak a different Spanish languages and dialects. Five are considered co-official, most of them are Catalan, Valencian, Galician, Basque, and Aranese.
With that in mind, here are some Spain facts. Thanks to people like Salvador Dali, Antoni Gaudi, Pablo Picasso, and others, Spanish culture has spread to other parts of the world. And let’s not forget, Spain was a colonial country, so they invaded parts of the world. There, people nowadays identify as Hispanic and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Soccer Represents A Century-long Rivalry
Soccer is one of the most important sports in Spain. It has remained such for many years. And in the past century, Spain is home to two of the most popular football teams in the world, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
These two have been competing for centuries. Their rivalry has marked football life in Spain. And it has inspired people outside of the country to pick a team to root for.
A Mouse Tooth Fairy
In Spanish culture, there is no coin under your pillow from the tooth fairy. Instead, you get something from the tooth fairy’s hairy coworker. Known as El Raton Perez or El Raton de Los Dientes, he takes over the gift for tooth exchange.
His story has several theories about his origin. But the prevailing theory is that Jesuit priest Luis Coloma wrote the story to help King Alphonse XIII cope with the loss of his first tooth at age 8.
The story was recounted and shared so often that it even made it to Latin America through its colonial conquests.
Dances Originating in Spain
Some of the most passionate traditional dances originate in Spain. Dancing is one of the most expressive forms of Spanish culture and Spanish tradition.
Many images of passion and love are nurtured by dances including Jota, Copla, Paso Doble, Flamenco, and many more.
Spanish traditional dance is often accompanied by beautiful garments and exotic instruments.
Spanish culture is famous for its musical melody and rhythm. The country has produced talented songwriters and artists. The list includes Placido Domingo, Enrique Iglesias, Julio Iglesias, Paco de Lucia, Rosalia, Alejandro Sanz, and many more.
In Spain, music genres vary according to region. For example, Flamenco, Rumba Catalana, and Bolero are accompanied by string musical instruments. Modern artists sometimes mix Flamenco with modern beats.
Spanish music has been influenced by Roman and Celtic music. Many of the dances and music in Spain have been considered Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Tradition of La Tomatina
This is a unique Spanish tradition happening on the last Wednesday of August in the municipality of Bunol in Valencia. The tradition demands that a piece of ham be set at the top of a very tall post in the town square. The festival begins when someone climbs this pole and grabs the ham from the top.
At around 11 in the morning, six trucks with 150t of tomatoes slowly roll into the town giving tomatoes to all attendees. They can take part in the biggest tomato fight in the world.
Tomatoes are specifically bred and harvested for the festival. After hours of pelting tomatoes, the streets are left clean and tidy.
It is one of the most unique and amazing experiences in Spain. You do not want to miss it if you have a chance to attend. Just remember to wear a pair of gloves and goggles.
Tomemos Una Siesta
This is the Spanish saying, “let’s take a nap”. There is no other feeling in the world like this one. A good nap is part of Spanish culture and tradition. Businesses and restaurants in cities take a couple of hours off each day for their employees to take a siesta and snooze off.
It is a tradition many people would love to be part of, right? Yes, due to the rhythm and demand of the modern era, the cultural aspect of siesta has dwindled in the last several years. Not all businesses allow siesta nowadays.
Strict Ordering Schedules
Food services in Spain have strict ordering schedules. And it is all due to the siesta. Yes, you read that right, you might not get your food if you order during siesta time. Some restaurants do not deliver.
Spanish culture and Spanish cuisine have many interesting dishes, including tapas, paella, and morcilla. But remember, traditional food in Spain is served at specific times. It sells out quickly. So, if you have something in mind, make sure to stand in line.
It is best that you ask locals which restaurants they recommend and the time to show up.
Traditional Spanish Food
Speaking about traditional food, we have to mention that food is the foundation of Spanish culture. Spanish cuisine has been influenced by Arab, Roman, Jewish, and Mediterranean cuisine. It mixes all those flavors and ingredients for a distinct cuisine.
This might surprise you, but Spain also produces high-quality olive oil and wine. Here is a list of traditional Spanish food. The food in the country combines savory food and flavors.
- Fideua is a seafood paella-styled plate with noodles instead of rice
- Fabada is a type of bean stew
- Jamon is a curated ham from the Iberian Peninsula
- Gazpacho is a cold tomato soup
- Churros is a fried dough pastry you can dip in hot chocolate
- Potatos bravas is a deep-fried potatoes dish with spicy sauce
Christmas Is A Special Holiday
Spaniards celebrate Christmas, the New Year, and the feast of the Three Wise Men during the winter holidays. The Christmas season is a special period in the country.
One of the traditions is to eat twelve grapes at a time to welcome the new year. And yes, it is more difficult than it seems. Yet, Spaniards swear that achieving this feat will bring good luck for the rest of the year.
Let’s talk about traditional Spanish greetings. Introductions and greetings are a strong part of the Spanish culture facts.
In that spirit, acquaintances say hi to each other the first time they meet with a handshake and keep it simple. If you have met the person a few times before, you can give him/her a warmer handshake. This time, it might come with a pat on the shoulder.
Greeting more familiar people comes with a hug or a double kiss on the cheek. The double kiss is a signature greeting of Spain, Latin America, and other countries that were part of the Spanish world.
In Spain, people usually introduce themselves using only their first name. Fun fact: people have two first names and one last name.
Similar to many other countries in the world, Spain has a superstition about the number 13. Other superstitions include believing a hat on your bed is a bad omen.
Here is an interesting fact: when a Spanish family moves into a new house, they need to buy a new broom. Spaniards believe that bringing your old broom is a sign of bad luck.
In Spanish culture, it is customary to bring a gift when you are invited to someone’s house for dinner. Another Spanish tradition is children get gifts from a wooden log-looking character famous as el Tio de Nadal. This is mostly in Catalonia.
Spaniards Speak Loudly
Here is a fun fact about Spain and Spaniards. They tend to speak loudly. This is why you can spot them anywhere. They are the ones that speak in the loudest voice.
This part of the Spanish character contributes to the special atmosphere in Spain.