One of the most fascinating things about Spain is its culture – rich, distinct, and itself a melting pot of Moorish influences, Roman philosophies, and Christian aspirations. But what else can you expect from the land of Flamenco, bullfights, and castanets? Of gypsies and guitars? Of romance and passion?
To talk about Spain culture is to talk about a considerable number of pages of the world’s history. Once a global empire, Spain culture has a great influence in many of its former territories – North, Central, and South America, Africa, and the Philippines – an influence that is as widely evident now as it was then.
But there are aspects of Spain culture that have remained truly Spanish. That is, when you hear it mentioned, your first thought will always be that sunny country on the Iberian Peninsula in Mediterranean Europe.
Contrary to popular belief, the Flamenco is more than just a dance. This gem of Spain culture actually exists in three forms:
* Cante – the song
* Baile – the dance
* Guitarra – guitar playing
It originated in Southern Spain and the gypsies were believed to be its fathers. At the very least, they played a very important role in its creation. However, Flamenco was influenced by several factors, including but not limited to the popular songs and dances of Andalucia and the many diverse cultures and civilizations that dominated Spain in its many historical epochs.
Who hasn’t heard of it? Who hasn’t heard of it and not related it to Spain culture? Bullfighting is certainly one of the most well-known, and perhaps the most controversial, of Spanish customs.
No fiesta in Spain is ever complete without a corrida de toros (bullfighting) or the Toro Bravo, the species of bull found only in Spain and conserved for purposes of bullfighting. Although considered by sports to foreigners to Spain culture, fans of bullfighting insist that it is an art of the highest form – depicting the eternal struggle between man and beast; the civilized man against his primal nature; the weakness of body and the strength of spirit.
If the Flamenco is a symbol of passionate Spain and bullfighting, the courage of its people, the fiesta is Spain culture’s symbol of gaiety and pageantry. Spanish fiestas are held in honor of a patron saint. Often, a region may have more than one patron saint, and each one of them must have a fiesta offered in their honor.
Food is a common sight during this aspect of Spain culture. It is here that you will get a glimpse of the diversity of Spanish cuisine. Although basically a religious event, the Spanish fiesta also has its pagan roots, a reflection of Spain’s local early customs that was tided over the centuries.