The Spanish love the Easter bunny more than Santa. Easter is more highly celebrated and regular life grinds to a halt as the country it consumed with Easter-fever for four days following Holy Thursday. It is a great time to visit; swaying processions of fervent penitents walk through the streets to a hypnotic drumbeat while carrying crucifixes and statues of the weeping Virgin Mary on their backs.
Same sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005 – making it one of the most liberal countries in Europe.
Spain enforces some delightfully weird rules of the road. For example, in some cities, cars must be parked on different sides, next to certain odd or even numbers depending what day of the week it is. If you need to wear glasses, make sure you carry an additional pair when behind the wheel - If you don’t, you could be in trouble. Luckily, a lot of hire companies know we might be a tad ignorant to these unfamiliar rules and companies like Economy Car Hire can explain any paradoxes if you decide to hire a car and hit the tarmac.
The Spanish love their football and Real Madrid is the most popular soccer club in the world; boasting over 228 million supporters. And… Fans of FC Barcelona are known as culés - it’s the Catalan word for ass.
Spain is one of the last 12 monarchies in Europe and the current King of Spain is Juan Carlos I, who inherited the throne from General Franco.
Spain like to layer their religious temples. As the differing rulers passed through Spain over the years, many places of worship were rebuilt to reflect the ruling ideology’s religion. So you could find an interesting Roman temple, covered by a church, made-over into a mosque and then converted back into a church. The Mezquita-Catedral in Andalusia is a great example and must-see if you’re in that region.
The Spanish love a tradition and on May 15th, the single women of Madrid visit a chapel called Ermita de San Isidro in which they prick their fingers with pins and pop the blood in a vessel which is said to help them find a husband.
Spaniards can be sensitive regarding their history and the words we use to describe their heritage. Do not refer to Catalan, Valenciano or Gallego as dialects! During the dark decades under the rule of well-known fascist Francisco Franco's, regional languages such as Basque, Catalan and Galician were banned in Spain. Anyone caught speaking them could be severely punished, therefore, referring to it as a dialect can be deemed very offensive in a way you weren’t expecting. They are all separate languages in their own right, and it’s also worth noting that Catalonia might not be a part of Spain for much longer. They have their own flag, not to mention language and are gunning for independence in the near future. So a post you read on this site in a year or so could be about just that.
(Photo by Trey Ratcliff)