Spain, the largest country in southwestern Europe is a country with rich traditions, culture, and history. As historians report the Iberian peninsula where most of Spain is situated had a population since 1.2 million years ago. The long history of existence has contributed to a rich Spanish culture making it one of the world’s most interesting and significant cultural destinations. The land of Spain has witnessed many conquests starting from the Roman Republic to Viking incursions, Muslim conquests, and the Spanish Empire, this land has been home to multiple dynasties and cultures.
Also, Spain is a beautiful country that offers exotic beaches, centuries-old buildings and monuments, music and arts activities which compel the tourists from all across the world to visit the country. It was the second most visited country in the year 2017. Interestingly, the World Tourism Organization is also based in Madrid, Spain. Spanish culture has a blend of different cultures, including northern and southern Europe’s traditions. From flamenco to the running of the bulls, the country has a distinctive charm that keeps visitors captivated from across the world.
Table of Content
- The Oldest Culture in the World
- Wrapping Up
The Oldest Culture in the World
Historically, Spanish culture is the oldest culture in the world. It is deeply influenced by Iberian and Roman Celtic culture. Moreover, other cultures that have influenced Spain are the Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, and Phoenicians. They influenced Spanish culture with respect to religion and language. Romans left a great legacy in the form of Hispania. They considered Hispania a hub of legal, administration, and political activities. Spain’s cultural activities have influenced the entire continent. The Spanish language came into existence from this land. Moreover, Spanish culture is famous because of popular poets and writers like Pablo Picasso.
Let’s Explore Some of the Interesting Cultural Activities in Spain!
Many unique and interesting traditions are practiced in Spain. Some of these traditions have a strong influence on the countries of Latin America as well. Here are some wonderful cultural activities in Spain. Take a quick look, and you will surely find them amazing!
Tapas is a traditional small snack that people eat as an appetizer in Spain. People eat those appetizers before lunch and dinner in bars usually on weekends. The history of Tapas shows that in the era of King Alfonso X of Castile,
he got ill. As a treatment, he ate tapas between meals and drank wine. By eating Tapas and drinking wine, he recovered so he recommended tapas with wine in all the inns.
Spanish people eat their meals at a later time around 9 or 10 pm. Therefore, they get plenty of time to enjoy snacks before meals. People eat this snack in the bars so every bar makes it in a unique way. They use fried potatoes with spicy sauce, garlic prawns, tomato, tortilla, chorizo, ham, and cheese.
The more interesting part of this tradition is that in some bars people throw napkins and toothpicks on the floor. The tastier the tapas are, the more napkins and toothpicks you will see on the floor.
2. La Siesta
La Siesta means taking a nap. It is a famous tradition in Spain. Everyone knows about this tradition but few people practice it. Spanish people eat less at breakfast and dinner so they eat a heavy lunch. Therefore, after taking a heavy meal, blood goes to the stomach of the people to help them with indigestion.
This makes a person drowsy and tired. The other cause of taking La siesta is that Spanish people experience high temperatures at midday. Therefore, they are unable to do any physical or mental activity. This gives rise to the tradition of La Siesta. During nap time, the business and stores are closed.
Employees go home to eat lunch and take a nap in the hottest part of the day. This tradition also puts off foreigners and tourists as local shopkeepers and sellers going home for a nap interrupts their shopping activities.
Flamenco is a song, dance, and instrumental guitar. It is associated with Andalusian Roma which is the gypsies of Southern Spain. The history of Flamenco lies back to the time when Roma migrated from Rajasthan in the 9th and 14th centuries. These immigrants brought with them a musical legacy like the use of bells, wooden castanets, tambourines, and a pool of songs and dances.
When in Spain, they encountered the Moors and Sephardic Jews which resulted in the formation of a new art called flamenco. The best part of Flamenco music is that despite other cultures’ influence, its lyrics and sounds are uniquely Spanish. As far as Flamenco dance is concerned, Flamenco dancers spend a great time practicing the dance. People enjoy the expression of the dance that can change according to the tone of the song.
4. Semana Santa
People celebrate Semana Santa as a holy week in Spain. In its celebration, people come out of their homes and form a procession. These processions roam around the city throughout the week before Easter. Although the style and mood of these processions vary from city to city, the basic theme of the cultural activity remains the same.
Every day processions that come out include a member of a religious party. They take flags in the procession and reach the town’s central cathedral and then come back. Spanish people have been following this tradition for years and they celebrate it with the same zeal every time strengthening the Spanish culture even more.
People in many cities of Spain celebrate this cultural activity but its festivities in Seville and Malaga are most famous. The cities of Valladolid and Leon also support the procession of Semana Santa.
Paella is a famous Spanish rice dish. Many people consider it a Spanish national dish. People use meat or seafood in their preparations. Valencia city innovated this dish, The word paella is derived from the old French word that comes from the Latin word patella. Spanish people make this dish for large gatherings.
The traditional Paella dish consists of vegetables and meat whereas, in coastal areas of Spain, they use meat instead of seafood. Although the mixture of seafood and meat is a combination version and it is an alteration of traditional Parella.
The most amazing thing about this dish is that it is a single pan dish. Many European countries use different pans to prepare any dish. Moreover, if you are making any single dish, then you need to make more dishes that are separate from the main dish. But in the case of Paella, you don’t have to make side dishes. Such is the beauty of Spanish culture.
6. The Fallas of Valencia
In March, for five days and nights, the people of Valencia with people from around the globe gathered in the streets of Valencia for a street party called the fire festival. This traditional festival is celebrated in the memory of Saint Joseph who was the famous saint of carpenters. Initially, carpenters used to hang candles on wooden planks during their work.
People celebrate this tradition in the spring season to depict the end of the darker winter days. Further, they cover the planks with clothes to give them identities like ninots that depict politicians and celebrities.
During this tradition, the firecrackers and brass bands lit up the city. Interestingly, this tradition includes fireworks, processions, and a lot of hustle and bustle. The most amazing thing about this tradition is that ninots are made with fireworks at the plaza Ayuntamiento, the street lights are turned off and firefighters are in action. This famous tradition from Spanish culture is also listed in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage of Humanity.
7. Festa Major de Gràcia
Festa Major de Gracia is a pretty young festival. It originated from the small village of Villa de Gracia which does not exist today. This village was famous for its artisans, small traders, and workers. People celebrate this festival on the 15th of May to commemorate San Isidro who died on the 15th of August. This cultural activity is a type of competition between the streets and the jury decides the winner. The neighbors of the street choose a theme like a fairy-tale, or movie. Therefore, they decorate the street according to the theme.
They keep the theme of the street secret. The day before 15th August, people go out in the street to decorate it with love and creativity. On a corresponding day, the competition is held and the jury comes up with the winner after a week. However, during this time, Garcia’s neighbors enjoy the decorated streets all day and night.
8. La Tomatina
Each year, at the end of August, thousands of people gather in the small town, Bunol. It is a small town in Valencia with a population of 9,000 people. Approximately 40,000 people arrive in this town to view a tomato fight called La Tomatina. During this fight, the streets of Bunol become the rivers of tomato paste because people in the festival throw over-ripe tomatoes.
Thus, it is the largest tomato fight in the world. The duration of this fight is one hour. People use Approximately, 150,000 over-ripe tomatoes in this fight. This cultural activity started in 1940 when a small crowd threw a vegetable at a street parade. Some people lit fire causing a fight. However, people enjoyed this act, and every year, they bring tomatoes themselves and start enjoying tomato fights.
9. San Fermin (Pamplona Bull Run)
The cultural activities of San Fermin are celebrated in Irunea/Pamplona. It is located in the region of Navarra. People celebrate it every year from the 6th to the 14th of July. They have become very popular because of the running of the bulls. Bulls run through the street and reach the bull ring with the runners.
People celebrate this festival in memory of San Fermin who was the saint of Navarra. However, people are unaware of the religious aspect. At present, people from all around the world enjoyed this activity. The fun and the enjoyment are the most important part of this festival.
The Enceirro is the most important event of this festival. During this festival, bulls come from outside the city for bullying. This festival starts at the cage in Calle Santo Domingo at 8, o’clock in the morning when the bell rings at the church of San Cernin.
The distance between the cage and the bullring is 825 meters. Therefore, the bulls need to run. The running lasts for three to four minutes but sometimes the time increases to ten minutes if a bull is not with its companion.
10. San Sebastián Tamborrada
The San Sebastian Tamborrada is a cultural activity. People celebrate this festival on the 20th of January. It is a very interesting cultural activity in which both young and old people come out of their homes to celebrate. This cultural activity relates to the history of the city in which San Sebastian survived the French and English attacks.
In this activity, people of the city try to copy those soldiers by making noise with spoons, sticks, and frying pans. The history of this tradition is from San Sabastian and with time it becomes popular.
At the start of this cultural activity, people only use drums and they dress up in the way they liked. With the passing of time, they start wearing traditional clothes such as Napoleonic military uniforms and cooking their favorite cuisines. After that, they start to march toward the historic Plaza de la Constitution. At that place, they raise the flag of San Sebastian at midnight.
11. Los Reyes Magos
In Spain, Old St. Nick describes the three kings as religious lore. This cultural activity is known as three wise men in English. According to the Bible teachings, these three men traveled from the world to Bethlehem so that they could give the gift to the newborn Jesus. Whether these men were kings or not is still a debate but their tradition of giving gifts is still present.
People celebrate this day on January 5th. On the evening of this day, people leave their empty shoes near a window with the hope that presents and treats will fill it. Moreover, some kids leave three glasses of warm milk for the kings and some leave grass and hay for hungry camels. The kids are happy to find their shoes with multiple gifts and treats the other day.
12. Festival de Los Patios in Cordoba
The Cordoba Patios Festival is an entertaining cultural activity in Spain. People celebrate this in the first week of Spain. Moreover, it is an ancient tradition of Cordoba City. Patios mean country yards and this cultural activity is about decorating the courtyards with beautiful plants and flowers.
The first Patio cultural activity was held in 1918. People use secret courtyards that are behind the doors and walls of the city. In this traditional activity, people open their beautiful country yards for people to visit.
Many people from around the world came to Cordoba to take part in this festival. This tradition is not related to plants only. However, you can visit Cordoba for its amazing history, food, and beautiful landscape.
13. Jerez May Horse Fair
The Jerez horse fair is known as Feria del Caballo. People celebrate this traditional activity in the first or second week in May. It is a very interesting and joyful festival. Therefore, all the people want to visit the Gonzalez Hontoria fairground. This ground covers an area of 52,000 sq meters and gives good space to horses.
The other name of the fairground is recent. It was opened in 1903. At that time, it was decided that societies and individuals should have their cases. Therefore, 200 casitas were built in the city. They have beautifully decorated with colorful la Cordoba Patios called farolillos. Just like Cordoba Patios, most of the cases are private. People can visit them only if they are invited. Jeraz is open for the general public to enjoy.
Apart from the above festivities, Spain also celebrates vibrant cultural activities. No matter which city you are in Spain, you can enjoy nearby carnivals. Although each city in Spain has its way of celebrating the events you can enjoy the beautiful costumes, delicious food and lots of music and dance in Spain’s atmosphere. People celebrate carnival differently but the Island paradise Tenerife is the most amazing carnival. Following Tenerife comes the Cadiz and Sitges carnivals.
15. Christmas and New Year
Christmas is the most enjoyable time of the year. This statement also stands true for Spain. How the people of Spain celebrate Christmas. All the people in the country enjoy their holidays and they decorate the city with twinkling lights. The moderate weather in Spain increases the enjoyment of the people as it is not as cold as it is in other countries.
People invite their families and friends on Christmas Eve for drinks and chit-chat for hours. Moreover, on Christmas day, people make delicious food and invite family and friends. Children wait for Santa Clause to come and give them gifts.
Spanish people enjoy one of the most enriched cultures in the world. One of the largest Spanish communities resides in the USA. To communicate with Spanish communities effectively, it is important to communicate with them in the Spanish language. With the help of the Spanish language, you can easily understand Spanish cultural activities and can deal with them accordingly.
In case you need a translation of Spanish documents, you can contact CCJK. It provides you with impeccable Professional Translation Services at a fast turnaround time and economical rates. For further details contact us.