Spanish people are a nation that loves the crowd and fun. They often meet in bars for conversation or fun together running away from sitting at home. In most, even small towns, afternoons are the perfect time for meetings, and 20 streets and bars fill up with people of all ages who are in conversation. They also love to have fun, which is what they are famous for all over the world, and a huge number of festivals and holidays is a great opportunity for this.
There's no doubt that the most famous Spanish tradition is corrida - a spectacle of man's fight against bull watched in specially adapted arenas with huge audiences. This kind of entertainment came along with the Arab tribes and was a spectacle only for the elite. A torreador fighting bull - with his richly decorated outfits and headgear - irritates the bull and encourages the bull to fight with a red cloth (mulet) to finally knock the spear into his neck. Being a torreador was once an activity for the chosen people, and extraordinary courage and cunning were rewarded with a position in society. In most of the countries where Spanish traditions have spread, the brutality of the spectacle has turned it into a theatrical performance, but in Spain alone it has been increasingly opposed by different circles for many years. However, some regions of Spain are withdrawing from traditional corrida, as did the Catalonia Parliament giving up bloody performances from 1 January 2012.
The most famous Spanish dance is undoubtedly flamenco - a very expressive dance referring to the traditions of Andalusian gypsies. Not only specific music and singing, but also colorful costumes, facial expressions and dancers' gestures are connected with it. Ladies proudly present themselves in frilliant dresses and colourful corsets, while men wear black or dark blue, tight trousers and a white shirt with an apasse. This dance is performed both in pair and solo most often accompanied by guitar, but sometimes also in the background it sounds flute or cello. The rhythm is most important in flamenco - it is played on drums, castanets, heels of shoes, and the most frequent props include fans, flowers and scarves. The performances take place in special bars, sometimes in taverns, on small theatres and sometimes even on the streets. Expression, pride, liveliness and beauty of dance eloquently reflects the Spanish people's attachment to tradition and their provenance. On November 17th, 2010, this dance was inscribed on the UNESCO List of Oral and Non-Material Heritage Sites.
The inhabitants of different regions of the country are very different, which is influenced by the long history of the country, access to natural resources or succumbing to the influence of other nations. That is why the Spanish people often say that they are not a single nation, but because of this very interesting and diverse. The majority of foreigners associate Spain with hot Andalusia, where proud and very experienced Spanish people express their emotions through flamenco rhythms. Galicia, on the other hand, is a green hill often covered in fog, where conservative yet hospitable residents love to return to the past. The Catalans and Basqueans dream of noticing their political, social and cultural separateness and even their independence from Spain. The regional traditions of these areas are most evident in the small towns, which live their slow life.
For the Spaniards, it is very important to have a family, not only as a large, multi-generation assembly, but also as a support and social force. This results in the characteristics of this society - courage in proclaiming their views, striving to achieve goals, openness to novelties and adaptation to changes. Although usually the most important authority of the family was man, it is the woman who has the greatest impact on the life of the family. Radical changes in the model of the family and the role of women came after Franco's death and overthrow of the regime. Earlier, still in the 1970s, a woman who wanted to leave the city had to have a written authorization from her husband to leave the family - of course for a short time. Today, the number of marriages since then has almost halved, and emancipation and family models from other developed countries have resulted in lighter treatment of family traditions.
A feature that connects all Spanish people is a loose approach to the sense of time. Joy flowing from life and meeting with friends or time for oneself is as important in this culture as work, and the famous saying "manana" - i. e. putting everything into a later course has become a tradition and a normal approach to dealing with matters. When you are going to make a meeting with a Spaniard, you have to set an exact time, because often during the delay there is an excuse that the hour is 60 minutes. Such an approach to life makes people from other European countries often find their lack of punctuality bad, but the Spanish themselves treat it as a normal lifestyle.
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The national dance of Catalonia is sardana, which is derived from the tradition of old sardana curta dance. Very often this dance competition is organized, during which dance schools exhibit six pairs competing with each other with the technique and harmony of movements and colourful costumes.
During various holidays in the streets of Catalonia you can see the inhabitants wearing colorful costumes dancing with sticks. It is a characteristic dance, which probably originated from war or shepherd dances, danced by more than 100 different bands, each of which has the same costume. This is a very exciting show, where the build-up of tension and the interplay of movements and rhythms is very important and requires long training sessions.
On numerous marches in Catalonia, there are figures with large heads - Capgrossos, which in the eighteenth century were used to pave the way for an orchestral, usually religious, colic. They had mainly human faces, but after the end of the civil war, when the street became a place of play, they started to take various characters. They are usually accompanied by Gegants, but in recent years there have been many more of them, and their role has changed from auxiliary to one of the main dancers, they are mascots of clubs, schools, they entertain crowds and do tricks.
The Corpus Christi celebrations are often accompanied here by Cavalletes - figures reminiscent of our Lajkonikas or small horses, which have been used since the 15th century to showcase the Christian's victorious battle against the Mauro family, and nowadays they are often used to parodiate the cavalry. On the occasion of this holiday there are also devils and other figures referring to Christian traditions and the history of the region, which go in the great parade. The street is often treated as a theatre during religious holidays and various festivals.
A unique spectacle from Catalonia is Castells - the construction of structures from human bodies that were to symbolize the unity of the Catalan people, and the struggle to build them - the struggle for the freedom of Catalonia. In recent years, this tradition has gained in importance thanks to numerous new teams and the construction of up to five floors.
Ethnic instruments, traditional only for the region, are very popular in Catalonia. Numerous schools of playing these instruments are also being created, and their sounds can often be heard on the streets.