Spain is a diverse, vibrant and passionate country where ancient traditions exist alongside modern innovations. Spanish people are notoriously passionate about music, food, art and enjoying life and these passions are woven into the day to day rhythms in every city and town.
1. It is completely acceptable to throw things on the floor of the bar, such as clam shells, shrimp tails and used napkins. This is all part of the tapas dining experience.
2. The Spanish eat their meals much later than you might be used to. Be prepared to have lunch around 2pm and dinner at around 9 or 10pm. When Spaniards go out drinking and dancing, they rarely head to the nightclub before 2am.
3. Spanish food is seldom spicy, although many people think it is. It usually includes a lot of fresh seafood, vegetables, nuts and beans.
4. The language Euskera is one of the oldest living languages in the world and it is spoken by the Basque population in Northern Spain.
5. The Spanish village of Valencia is home to the annual La Tomatina Festival, which is the largest tomato fight in the world.
6. Spain produces more olive oil than any other country in the world. It produces 44% of the world’s supply, more than Greece and Italy. Not only do they produce a lot of it, they also consume a lot. The average Spanish person consumes approximately 14 liters of olive oil per year.
7. The Madrid subway system is the second largest underground system in Europe. It consists of 141 miles of track and it still continues to grow.
8. Spain wasn’t always called Spain. When it was inhabited by the North Africans who first crossed the Straits of Gibraltar they called it Iberia. When the Greeks invaded , they referred to it as Hesperia. When the Carthaginians came in 300 BCE they called the land Ispania, which translates to “Land of the Rabbits.” When the Romans came they changed the name to Hispania. This eventually changed to España.
9. The tradition on New Year’s Eve in Spain is to eat 12 grapes at midnight, one at every strike of the clock. If you can do this, you will have good luck throughout the rest of the year.
10. Did you know that you can visit a museum of witches in Spain? The Museo de las Brujas in the town of Zugarramurdi is dedicated to the Spanish occult and it tells the story of the 53 individuals who were imprisoned or burned at the stake after being found guilty of practicing “witchcraft” in 1610. Years later, the alleged witchcraft was deemed traditional folk medicine and this inquisition was recognised as a terrible act.
Did you know any of these interesting facts about Spain? If you have any other intriguing tidbits to share, let us know in the comments!
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