“Let’s talk about some of those typical spanish topics. But really, is there a tipical spanish? Or it was all made up? “
So in Spain we all are flamenco dancers, we love to drink sangria all year round, enjoy a bullfight show every Sunday after going to church and saying our prays. Indeed everybody know we are a very catholic society and of course we always take a siesta after lunch.
Do the previous statements seem suspicious to you? you are absolutely right, they don’t define Spanish society. Yes, flamenco is the most international dance and music from Spain, but it is very complicated and takes years and tons of talent to master it, either dancing, singing, playing the guitar or the castanets. Super complicated to dance and play the castanets together!!! have you tried? It will sound awful, that’s a fact!
However flamenco is since 2010 in the list of Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and you should not leave Spain without enjoying a flamenco show, in Madrid, Andalucia or Barcelona, even some places in Extremadura or Castilla la Mancha, but not everywhere in Spain it is easy to witness a good flamenco show… One of my favourite flamenco dancers of all times was the great Carmen Amaya, a 1,50 m high, tough little woman that had fire under her feet and was worn in a shack of the disappeared Somorrostro, one of the poorest “favelas” in Barceloneta, the sea side neighbourhood of Barcelona.
Back to not so real topics of what defines Spanish people: Sangria -Really?? Have you ever tried sangria? I mean, yes, of course sometimes a glass of sangria is fun, sweet, a mix of alcohols, gets you drunk super fast, but it also will, and I can promise you that, a terrible terrible hang-over next day. In Spain we actually drink beer and wine mostly.. here check the maps: first with the top beer brands per region, the second about wine areas of Spain
Where was I, yes! The booze. We don’t actually drink that much, I mean, yes, alcohol is present at the dinner table, and lunch table, and believe it or not, even at the morning coffee (puagh! There’s this coffee with brandy or cognac or some other booze called “carajillo” and yes, you can see it in the morning at any coffeeshop), but, we are not an alcoholic society because we are usually eating with the drinking, the famous tapas, the little appetisers to fill your stomach while drinking so you don’t get wasted!!
On the other hand Spain is one of the world’s top wine producers; the list goes first Italy, Spain, France and USA, in this order; apparently these four countries produce 50% of the wine of the whole world! We of course not only produce it but we also drink it. Everywhere in Spain you can find a wine region with a particular type of wine. From Cava to Manzanilla, to all kinds of red, rosé and white wines.
Other typically wrong topics are Sunday mass or bullfighting. Very controversial stuff here, very very delicate matter. Some love bullfighting with passion and some go to service every Sunday, sure. But also some areas of Spain have banned the brutality inflicted on animals as a show or entertainment or tradition, like Catalonia. Other regions in Spain are in the process of forbidding “Corridas de toros”. Unfortunately many towns celebrate all sorts of traditional festivities involving animals. The most famous one is “SanFermines” in Pamplona: the images of lots of people (mostly men) dressed in white and with a red stripe in their head or neck or wrist… and running in front of the bulls through the streets of Pamplona! It is a once a year tradition and the origin is a catholic celebration to the patron saint Fermin, there’s much more ritual than running in front of the bulls!
It is not something I am proud of, as you can notice from my tone, so sorry if I don’t give you more details, I would love that my country finally forbids any abuse on animals once and for all!
Religion is always a very interesting and juicy topic! Spain was a Roman Catholic country by law for centuries. It was persecuted to practice any other religion since Isabel and Fernando who were known as the “Catholic Monarchs” (16th century) and it lasted until the II Republic (from 1931 to 1939). Imposed again with Franco dictatorship until 1978 when democracy was finally our political system. So yes, we have been and we have a huge catholic heritage that sustains most of our cultural background and it is of course the basis of most of our traditions. Nevertheless nowadays Spain is a free confession country and religion isn’t a matter of state anymore.
Some things have changed since democracy arrived: in 2005 marriage became legal for any kind of couple along with facilities in adoption and fertility for women without a male partner; therefore family in Spain can have many forms. It is one of the countries with more nudist beaches and where top-less is very common; just some examples of non very catholic standards, but at some 2019 survey (according to wikipedia) almost 70% of Spanish people declared they are catholic. I have to confess this surprises me a LOT!
Last but not least, of the typical topics about spanish behaviour, yes: we love a good siesta, a nap, after lunch and especially in summer, when it’s hot and the days are long, but really, who doesn’t?? does it really have to do with the Spanish way or it is a human way?? I think we should do a survey about that…
So to answer the question in the title: Spain is big and from north to south we drink different beers and wines, we speak different languages apart from spanish and we celebrate in many different ways; so yes, I think typical spanish it is a difficult concept no narrow down to a few topics. It was all made up!!!
Our local expert guide in Barcelona Spain is Dolça. She is your very best and most friendly local partner for nearly everything, which has to do with Spanish art, culture, history and food&drinks.