Spain

The Spanish Culture

Language:

The official language in Spain is the Spanish, also known as Castilian. However there other languages such as Galician, Catalan and Basque widely spoken in many regions of Spain.

Catalan is mostly spoken in northeastern Spain by 17% of the population. It’s not a dialect of Spanish but a language with a long history.

Latin spoken by the Romans who colonized the Tarragona area.

Galician is a Romance language close to Portuguese spoken in Galicia in the north west of Spain by 7% of people.

The Basque language also named Euskara is spoken in the northern central area of Spain by 2% of population with different hypotheses on its origin.

The linguistic diversity reflects the rich and colorful heritage of Spain.

Most Spaniards don’t speak English so it would make a difference if you learn some useful sentences in Spanish.

Religion:

Roman Catholicism is the most popular religion in Spain and is practiced by 68% of population. About 25% identify themselves as non believers or atheists. The remaining has other faiths like Islam, Protestant Christianity and Buddhism.

Cultural activities in Spain:

The Spanish culture has one of the most extraordinary artistic heritage of the world. Spain known for being the birthplace of art legends through the years such as El Greco, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya, Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí which all left a remarkable print in the history of art.

Spain is also renowned second in term of historical monuments by UNESCO world heritage sites and it’s shown through the splendor of unique ancient landmarks like Alhambra. The country holds some unusual buildings to see. The most famous are Antoni Gaudi’s unprecedented designs that are breathing creativity and insanity.

If you’re a music fan, Spain has a lot to offer for you. Every year a variety of festivals are organized including traditional music like Flamenco, Electronic music, metal music and best pop, rock and indie shows. For example: Vida, I am global, Azkena Rock, Benicassim and much more…

Dancing in Spain is more than a pleasure. It’s a style of life. Spaniards dance Flamenco, Folklore, Eighteenth Century Dances and Classical Ballet Dance.

Cultural values:

  • Both nuclear and extended family represents the basic of society.
  • Saving face is primordial for Spaniards. They insist on conserving dignity and pride.
  • Entering in public argues isn’t accepted.

General manners:

Greetings:

  •  Handshaking is the common way of greeting. Expect always a two-handed check from men.
  •  Handshake the people at meeting and leaving.
  • You should say “buenos días” for good day with señor(Mrs),señora(Mr),señorita (Ms) or” buenas tardes” for good evening and “Hasta luego” for goodbye.
  •  “Hola” is used to greet close friends.
  • Never touch or hug a Spaniard you do not know well, unless he touches you first.
  • In formal occasions, people are introduced with Don or Dona suited with their first name.
  • You should introduce yourself before speaking at the phone.
  •  It’s polite to use the formal form of address “usted”.

Dinning:

  • When visiting a Spaniard’s house, a small gift would be appreciated like candies, cakes and flowers.
  • Don’t sit before the host shows you your seat.
  •  If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife.
  • The host makes the first toast. An honored guest must return the toast later in the meal.

Dress:

  • Being elegant at all occasions is extremely important.
  • You will be judged foremost on your appearance.
  •  Shoes are the most important part of the outfit.
  • Women should wear dresses and skirts in formal occasions.