Spanish Culture and Customs

A short account of Spanish culture and customs is provided in the following article. History of cultural influences in Spain are presented in brief in the beginning.
The culture of Spain has been influenced by different cultures; Roman and Arabic culture however, had a great impact on Spanish culture. Visigothic Kingdom ruled the Iberian peninsula and southwestern region of France from 5th to 8th century A.D. The Hispanic region was brought under Christian rule during the reign of Visigothic Kingdom. During the period between 711 A.D. and 15th century, Moorish influence in the Iberian peninsula grew. The period of 'Reconquista' continued from 1000-1492 A.D. This period saw the defeat of Moors. Many famous Spanish conquistadors rose during the period of Reconquista.

Spanish Culture Facts

The language spoken by Spaniards i.e. Spanish (Espanol) is known by different names as follows: Castillan, Catalan, Galician, Basque and Aranese. The Castillan or Castellano is a widely spoken Spanish language. The Iberian, Megalithic and Celtic works represent architecture of Spain during pre-historic times. Urban development in Spain mostly took place during the Roman period. Taifas, Caliphate of Cordoba and many others made contributions to the architecture of Spain after the Roman period. Just like architecture, the literature of Spain too had many influences. The 'Cantar de Mio Cid' represents this diversity and richness of Spanish literature. This work of literature is a cantar de gesta. A cantar de gesta is a form of literature used in illustrating heroic deeds through songs/verses. The topic of culture, traditions and customs of Spain are discussed in the paragraphs below.

Spanish Customs and Traditions

The Spanish culture and traditions which continue till date are described in the article below. Spain is known for its great diversity and cultural heritage. These traditions thus, give a rough idea of Spanish culture and customs.

Fiestas: The different festivals/fiestas which continue almost 365 days of the year in this country are the highlights of Spanish culture. The 'Tomato Festival' (la Tomatina) is one such popular fiesta. This festival (la Tomatino) is celebrated every year in Bunyol; it takes place in the last week of August. The la Tomatino is kind of a 'tomato battle' played both by locals and tourists. Highlights of festivals celebrated in Spain are the fireworks, dances and music. People wear traditional attire during these festivals.

Romerias: The Romerios are pilgrimages taken people in villages and smaller towns. This tradition is not very popular amongst people in urban areas/big cities. The duration/period of Romerios vary on the distance of pilgrimage; These could be one-day or even week-long pilgrimages. People generally travel on foot. However, some of them also use caravans, carriages, horseback or carts for these pilgrimages. The Romerias are thus an important part of Spanish culture and customs.

Bullfights: The tradition of bullfighting in Spain is a long one. The bullfighting festival which takes place in Pamplona is known as Fiesta of San Fermin. This fiesta takes place in the month of July. Bulls are let loose in streets and people chase them. People wear white and red colored clothes during this festival. Bulls enter the arena meant for bullfighting; the bullfights are organized later in the afternoon.

La Vuelta a Espana: It is a cycling competition conducted in Spain. Cycling is a popular sport in this nation. Cyclists are highly revered in this country for the endurance they display and strength possessed by them. Hundreds of Spanish people come out to watch this event. The event of La Vuelta a Espana is amongst three 'Grand Tours' of cycling that are held in Europe.

The Spanish culture and customs are described in short in this article. It is difficult to even summarize the richness and diversity of Spanish culture through information presented above. However, the highlights of Spanish customs and traditions presented in the article should prove to be useful for readers who are commencing on Spain travel and looking forward to experience Spain in its splendor colors.
By Shashank Nakate
Published: 10/6/2010
Bouquets and Brickbats