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Interesting Things About Spanish Culture

by Sean
Interesting Things About Spanish Culture

The term ‘Spanish culture’ can bring a handful of iconic images to mind. The most common Spanish cultural icons are bullfights, red wine, flamenco music, and famous Spanish artists. Their culture differs from the culture in Latin America. But beyond the surface level and the stereotypes, what is there to know about Spanish culture?

Read on to discover some other aspects to understanding Spanish culture. 

No need to rush – maybe it’s the Mediterranean climate, or perhaps it’s something in the water, but you should never expect a casual meet-up to happen right on time in Spain. Spaniards are notorious for their laid-back approach to punctuality, and that lack of urgency and stress may be why they enjoy some of the highest life expectancies in Europe.

spanish people relaxing

Spaniards traditionally have two surnames – Spanish family values and an overall sense of family unity is a huge part of their culture, and their naming practices are hard proof of that. The average Spaniard has four names: a first name, middle name, their father’s surname, and their mother’s surname. 

There are no laws against nudity in Spain – like it or not, is what it is! Whether it’s for comfort during the hot Mediterranean summers or to avoid awkward tan lines while lying out on the beach, nudity is permitted from a legal standpoint. While we don’t recommend strolling down the streets of a major city in your birthday suit, be prepared to encounter beachgoers who have no reservations about sunbathing completely naked.

nudity is legal in spain

You should come bearing gifts – hospitality is a big part of Spanish culture. You should be prepared to return your host’s kindness when they invite you into their home. Whether you decide to bring wine, liquor, flowers, or chocolates, be sure to express your gratitude to your host in the form of a gift.

Spanish is not the only official language – while it makes sense that Spanish (Castilian) is the most widely used language in Spain, there are three other official languages: Catalan, Basque, and Galician. Beyond that, there are three unofficial languages that are spoken in certain regions: Asturian, Aragonese, and Aranese.

Diverse society and viewpoints – Be sure not to make the mistake of lumping all Spanish citizens into the same group. Some people and groups are sensitive to certain political issues, and many minority groups are currently dissatisfied with the current political climate.

Catholicism is huge in Spain – about 45% of Spain’s citizens declare themselves to be non-practicing Catholics, and over 23% claim themselves to be practicing Catholics. The impact of the Catholic Church has influenced the architecture and social customs within the country tremendously. The high percentage of Catholics in Spain doesn’t quite match up with its high divorce rate (65%). However, you should still be aware that religion plays a huge role across the country.

catholicism in spain

Does the Spanish National Anthem Play a Key Part in Their Culture?

Yes, the Spanish national anthem, known as “La Marcha Real,” plays a key part in Spanish culture. While it is one of the few national anthems in the world that does not have official lyrics, the melody is instantly recognizable to many Spaniards and is often played at important national and cultural events.

The history of the Spanish national anthem dates back to the 18th century, and the melody has been used in a variety of contexts over the years. It has been associated with the Spanish monarchy, the military, and the country’s national identity as a whole. Today, it is often played at sporting events, political rallies, and other public gatherings.

Despite the fact that the Spanish national anthem does not have official lyrics, many Spaniards feel a strong emotional connection to the melody. It is seen as a symbol of national pride and unity, and is often played alongside the Spanish flag at public events. While there have been some debates and controversies over the years about the lack of official lyrics, the melody remains an important part of Spanish culture and identity.

What European Country Played a Major Role in the Culture in Spain

Several European countries have influenced the culture of Spain over time, but the country that had the biggest impact is generally considered to be Rome (source: HowStuffWorks). Later, the Muslims from North Africa also played a significant role in shaping Spain’s cultural future (source: Khan Academy).

What Role Does the Spanish Civil War Play in Their Culture?

spanish soldiers

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) played a significant role in Spanish culture and history. The war is often seen as a struggle between democracy and fascism, and its legacy has influenced Spanish politics, literature, art, and cinema. The war and its aftermath are still debated and remembered in Spain today, with many Spaniards having personal connections to the conflict through family members or regional identities. It is also a topic of interest for scholars and tourists who visit Spain. The war has been depicted in numerous works of literature, art, and film, and memorials and museums dedicated to the war and its victims can be found throughout the country.

Spain and the European Union

The European Union has had a significant impact on Spanish culture in several ways. Firstly, the EU has promoted cultural exchange and cooperation among its member states, including Spain. This has led to an increase in cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of different cultural traditions. The EU has also supported the development of cultural industries in Spain, such as film, music, and art, by providing funding and promoting cultural events and festivals.

Secondly, the EU has helped to preserve and promote Spain’s cultural heritage. Spain has a rich cultural history, with numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the EU has provided funding for the preservation and restoration of these sites. The EU has also supported the promotion of Spanish cultural heritage through initiatives such as the European Capital of Culture program, which has showcased Spanish cities such as Salamanca, Madrid, and San Sebastian.

Finally, the EU has had an impact on the linguistic diversity of Spain. Spanish is one of the official languages of the EU, and the EU promotes multilingualism among its member states. This has led to a greater recognition and promotion of regional languages in Spain, such as Catalan, Basque, and Galician, which are also official languages in certain regions of Spain.

Overall, the EU has had a positive impact on Spanish culture by promoting cultural exchange and cooperation, preserving cultural heritage, and promoting linguistic diversity.

What is the Spanish National Dish?

The Spanish national dish is a topic of debate and there is no clear consensus on what it is. Some people consider paella to be the national dish of Spain, while others point to dishes such as tortilla española (Spanish omelet), gazpacho (cold tomato soup), or jamón ibérico (Iberian ham). The diversity of Spanish cuisine varies greatly from region to region, and each region has its own traditional dishes and specialties. However, regardless of the specific dish, what distinguishes Spanish cuisine is its focus on fresh, local, and high-quality ingredients, as well as its rich history and cultural influences.

10 Random Facts About Spain

  1. Spain is the only country in Europe to have a physical border with an African country (source: The World Pursuit).
  2. Spain is a constitutional monarchy (source: Expatica).
  3. Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain (source: The Fact File).
  4. Spanish is the official language of Spain (source: The Fact File).
  5. Spain has a total area of 505,370 square km (source: The Fact File).
  6. The ancient Roman Aqueduct of Segovia in Spain was built in the 1st century A.D. and still supplies water to the city (source: Fact Retriever).
  7. Spain has won the FIFA World Cup once, in 2010 (source: The Fact File).
  8. Spain has the second-highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with 48 sites (source: Expatica).
  9. The Basque language, Euskara, is spoken in parts of Spain and France and is not related to any other language in the world (source: The World Pursuit).
  10. The Sagrada Familia, one of the most famous landmarks in Spain, has been under construction for over 135 years (source: Expatica).

Spain is a very interesting country with so many random, fun facts.

What Are Some Interesting Facts About Spanish Children?

spanish children

Spanish children often have a large extended family network and family is an important part of their lives. They have a longer school day than many other countries, with classes usually starting at 9 am and ending at 2 pm or later. After lunch, they often have a siesta, or midday nap, which is a cultural tradition in Spain. Spanish children usually have their main meal of the day at lunchtime, which is typically a multi-course affair.

They often participate in traditional cultural events and festivals, such as the Three Kings Parade. Spaniards place a high value on education, and Spanish children are expected to work hard and achieve good grades. They often play outdoors and participate in sports such as soccer, basketball, and tennis.

Spanish children often have a close relationship with their grandparents, who may live with or near the family.

They are often exposed to multiple languages, as many regions of Spain have their own regional language in addition to Spanish.

Spanish Royal Family

The Spanish Royal Family is an important institution in Spanish society, with a long and rich history dating back centuries. The current royal family is a branch of the House of Bourbon and is headed by King Felipe VI, who ascended to the throne in 2014 after the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos I. The Spanish Royal Family carries out official duties and ceremonies, such as state visits and ceremonies of national importance, and they are also active in promoting Spanish culture and heritage.

The Spanish Royal Family is highly respected and admired by many Spaniards, who see them as a symbol of national unity and tradition. They are also a popular attraction for tourists, who are often fascinated by the history and grandeur of the Spanish monarchy.

In recent years, the Spanish Royal Family has faced some challenges and controversies, including a corruption scandal involving King Juan Carlos I and his daughter, Infanta Cristina. However, King Felipe VI has worked to restore public confidence in the monarchy and has taken steps to modernize and streamline the institution.

Despite these challenges, the Spanish Royal Family remains an important part of Spanish society and culture, and they continue to play a significant role in the country’s political and social landscape. With their dedication to public service and their commitment to promoting Spanish culture and heritage, the Spanish Royal Family is sure to remain an important institution for many years to come.

The Spanish Christmas Lottery

The Spanish Christmas Lottery, also known as the Lotería de Navidad or El Gordo, is a special draw of the Lotería Nacional, the weekly national lottery run by Spain’s state-owned Loterías y Apuestas del Estado. It is celebrated annually on December 22nd and is considered one of the biggest and most popular lottery events in the world.

One of the unique features of the Spanish Christmas Lottery is the size of the prize pool. The total prize money for the 2021 draw was €2.4 billion, with the top prize, El Gordo, worth €720 million. This enormous prize pool is divided into thousands of smaller prizes, which are distributed among the winners.

Another unique aspect of the Spanish Christmas Lottery is the way in which the winning numbers are drawn. The draw takes place in the Teatro Real in Madrid, and it is broadcast live on television and radio. The process of drawing the winning numbers is long and elaborate, with children from the San Ildefonso school in Madrid singing the winning numbers and prizes.

The Spanish Christmas Lottery is a beloved tradition in Spain, and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and excitement. Many people buy tickets for the lottery weeks in advance, and it is common for families, friends, and colleagues to pool their money and buy tickets together. The lottery is seen as a way to bring people together and spread joy and happiness during the holiday season.

Overall, the Spanish Christmas Lottery is a unique and beloved tradition that has become an important part of Spanish culture and heritage. Its enormous prize pool, elaborate drawing process, and festive atmosphere make it a truly special event that is eagerly anticipated by millions of people each year.

The World’s Biggest Food Fight

The world’s biggest food fight in Spain is known as La Tomatina, and it takes place annually on the last Wednesday of August in the town of Buñol, near Valencia. The event is a massive tomato fight in which participants throw tomatoes at each other for one hour.

La Tomatina began in 1945 as a small street festival, but it has since grown into a massive event that attracts thousands of people from all over the world. The festival is now so popular that the town of Buñol has had to limit the number of participants to 20,000 people.

On the day of the festival, trucks filled with ripe tomatoes are driven into the town square, and the tomato fight begins. Participants wear old clothes and goggles to protect their eyes from the tomato juice and pulp. The tomato fight lasts for one hour, and when it is over, the town square is covered in a sea of red tomato pulp.

La Tomatina is a unique and beloved tradition in Spain, and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm and excitement. It is seen as a way to bring people together and spread joy and happiness. The festival has become an important part of Spanish culture and heritage, and it continues to attract thousands of visitors each year.

What’s the Second Most Spoken Language in Spain?

The second most spoken language in Spain is Catalan. It is a Romance language spoken in Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands, as well as the eastern part of Aragon and the Roussillon region of France. Catalan is also recognized as an official language in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and Valencia, alongside Spanish. In addition to Catalan, there are several other regional languages spoken in Spain, including Galician, Basque, and Occitan. While Spanish is the most widely spoken language in Spain, the recognition and use of regional languages have become an important part of Spanish culture and identity. Many Spaniards are bilingual or multilingual, and the country’s linguistic diversity is celebrated as a reflection of its rich and complex history.

Important Events in Spain’s History That Impacted the Culture

Spain has a rich and complex history that has had a significant impact on its culture. Here are some important events in Spain’s history that have shaped its culture:

  1. Roman Conquest: The Roman conquest of Spain in the 3rd century BC brought Latin culture and language to the Iberian Peninsula, which has had a lasting impact on Spanish culture.
  2. Muslim Conquest: The Muslim conquest of Spain in the 8th century AD introduced Islamic culture and architecture to the region, which is still visible in Spanish cities such as Cordoba and Granada.
  3. Reconquista: The Reconquista, or the Christian reconquest of Spain from the Moors, ended in 1492 with the fall of Granada. This event had a significant impact on Spanish culture, as it marked the beginning of a new era of Christian dominance in Spain.
  4. Spanish Inquisition: The Spanish Inquisition, which began in the late 15th century, had a profound impact on Spanish culture. It led to the persecution of Jews, Muslims, and other religious minorities, and created a climate of fear and suspicion that lasted for centuries.
  5. Spanish Golden Age: The Spanish Golden Age, which lasted from the late 16th century to the mid-17th century, was a period of great cultural and artistic achievement in Spain. It produced some of the country’s most famous writers, artists, and thinkers, including Miguel de Cervantes and Diego Velázquez.
  6. Spanish Civil War: The Spanish Civil War, which lasted from 1936 to 1939, had a profound impact on Spanish culture. It was a struggle between democracy and fascism, and its legacy has influenced Spanish politics, literature, art, and cinema.

These events, among others, have shaped Spanish culture and continue to influence its development today. They are a testament to the rich and complex history of Spain and to the resilience and creativity of its people.


Spanish culture is unique and has a lot to offer in terms of music, dance, cuisine, art, and the many other aspects which comprise it. While there may not be many similarities between Spanish and American culture, it’s the cultural differences that make exploring Spain such an adventure.

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