Things to know About Spanish Culture and Traditions

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Spanish culture and traditions
  • José Anconina
  • 10 Feb, 2024
  • 11 Mins Read

Spanish culture and traditions are the names of the culture that includes the behavior and habits of the Spanish people in religion, art, literature, food, dance, music, clothing, and sports. The Spanish people’s culture has improved due to the occupations, migrations, and interaction of Spain with neighboring countries throughout the history of Spain.

What is the Connection Between Spanish Language and Culture?

The Spanish culture and traditions have influenced the Spanish language. Throughout history, Spanish has interacted with many different languages. Arabic, Latin, and Basque are examples of these languages. Many different accents and dialects have emerged from the interaction of Spanish with the Spanish culture and the cultures of other countries. Some emerging dialects are Andalusian Spanish, Chilean Spanish, and Peninsular Spanish.

Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language in the world. Nearly 480 million people speak Spanish as their mother tongue. It is also defined as the 3rd most used language on the internet.

The majority of the Spanish population speaks Spanish or Castilian Spanish. Basque, Catalan, and Galician are the second most spoken languages.

The diversity of languages spoken among the people has also affected the Spanish culture. The variety of languages is also home to the cultural richness of the local people. It has affected different food cultures, different traditions, and social life as cultures resemble each other over time.

To learn Spanish, you must know the Spanish culture closely. This makes it easier for you to understand the origin of the language and some dialects. You can improve your communication skills by learning more about idioms, proverbs, traditions, and cultures.

What is Spanish Literature and Art Culture?

Art has developed in Spain since ancient times, and Spanish literature has developed since the Middle Ages. Literary works written in the Castilian dialect are the basis of the literary culture of Spain. Different dialects have emerged in the Iberian peninsula after the Arab occupation. Among the derived dialects, the Castilian dialect spread throughout Spain and became the official language.

The researchers have determined that the first Spanish works in the Middle Ages were written in the Castilian dialect using Arabic letters. The first works written in Spanish literature were heroic stories and heroic poems. In parallel with the development of literary works in the 11th century, there was a development in translation works.

The short story genre gained popularity in Spain in the Middle Ages. After the Middle Ages, Spanish literature entered the Golden Age period, and the novel Don Quixote, still a famous work in world literature, was written in this period. In the golden age of Spanish literature, significant developments also occurred in theatrical texts. The Golden Age was when Spanish theater texts peaked in artistic terms. The literature of the 18th and 19th centuries and the Contemporary Period developed within the framework of the Romanticism movement. Works with political content in the contemporary period drew attention in Spanish literature.

Art in Spain has developed since ancient times, especially during the Middle Ages; architecture and painting arts developed in Spain. Spanish art enjoyed its golden age between the 15th and 17th centuries. During the Golden Age, when Spain lived in the field of art, baroque and naturalism movements developed and came to the fore. Surrealist and abstract movements have come to the fore in Spain today and recently.

The most well-known artists and writers of Spanish are listed below.

  • Miguel de Cervantes
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Salvador Dali
  • Francisco Goya
  • Diego Velasquez
  • Joan Miro
  • Federico Garcia Lorca
  • Nacho Vidal
  • George Santayana
  • Miguel de Unamuno
  • Jose Ortega y Gasset
  • Alfonso X of Castile
  • Lope de Vega
  • Antonio Machado
  • Solomon ibn Gabirol


The photo below shows famous Spanish writers and famous artist of literature in Spanish.

Artists and Writers of Spanish

What is the Religious Culture of the Spanish?

According to 2019 data, 68% of the Spanish population is Catholic Christian, 25% is irreligious, and 3% belongs to other religions. The government supported the Catholic church due to an agreement between the Papacy and the Spanish government. The Spanish constitution protects freedom of religion.

Religious celebrations are held in Catholic traditions, as most Spanish people are Christians from the Catholic denomination. Catholic teachings are also influential in the daily life of Spaniards. The events held on religious days in Spain are generally church rites and parades. Since most of the festivals held in Spain are of religious origin, festivals are also considered among religious ceremonies.

According to the CIS survey conducted in 2023, the Spanish People define themselves in religious matters as follows;

  • Practical Catholic (17%)
  • Non-Practical Catholic (35%)
  • Believer in another religion (2.5%)
  • Agnostic (15.2%)
  • Disinterested/Unbelievable (12.1%)
  • Atheist (17%)
  • Did not answer (1.1%)

This diagram shows religions in spanish population.

Religious Culture of the Spanish


What is Spanish Mythological Culture?

Spanish mythology is a sacred culture believed in before Christianity. Spanish mythology improved thanks to the different ethnic groups found in the Iberian Peninsula. Spanish mythology has been influenced by many different cultures, including Greek, Roman, Celtic, Carthaginian, Galician, and Austrian mythologies.

There are four main figures in Spanish mythology;

  • Nuberu
  • Olyndicus
  • Düende
  • Akelarra

Nuberu: God of Clouds and Storms.

Olyndicus: The commander who fought against Rome.

Düende: It is a very diverse god. Described as a mischievous spirit in Spanish mythology.

Akelarra: Described as the place where witches meet on the Sabbath. In Spanish mythology, there are many akelarra places in different regions.

How is Spanish Food Culture?

The food culture of Spain, which has a coast on the Mediterranean, reflects the Mediterranean culture. Olive oil is used abundantly in meals. Spanish food culture mainly consists of olive oil dishes, seafood, and pastries. Cheese stands out among dairy products in Spanish food culture. There are ten different types of cheese unique to Spain.

Today, the influence of ethnic groups who lived and still live in Spain in the food culture of Spain is quite significant. Spanish has hosted different ethnic groups throughout its history. As a result of different cultures, there are different types of food and flavors in Spanish cuisine.

Spanish culture mainly includes alcoholic beverages, cold drinks, coffee, and tea. Liqueur, wine, cold cocktails, and coffee are popular in Spanish beverage culture.

Spanish Food Culture


What to Eat in Spain?

Spain’s most famous dishes are listed below.

  • Gazpacho
  • Tapas
  • Tortilla
  • Paella
  • Jamon
  • Churros
  • Cabrales cheese
  • Mahon cheese
  • Quesco blanca cheese

What is Spanish Folk Dance Culture?

There are many different folk dances in Spanish culture. Celtic, Arab, and Roman cultures are the basis of Spanish dances. It is possible to see the traces of ethnic groups living in Spain on the Spanish dance figures formed by blending different cultures.

The most popular folk dance in Spanish culture is Flamenco. Flamenco dance originated in the Andalusia region of Spain and spread throughout the country. Today, flamenco dance is the most famous Spanish dance known worldwide.

Flamenco, which was born among the minority Arab Muslims, gypsies, Spanish Jews, and Iberian people living in Spain in the Middle Ages, has a vast area in Spanish culture. The most essential elements of flamenco dance are the guitar and songs. Flamenco is a dance accompanied by compositions and songs reflecting the gypsy culture. Gypsies say that flamenco dance reflects their soul, pain, and happiness.

Other dances in Spanish culture are Zarzuela, Jota, Sevillana, Fandango, Zambra, Bolero, Paso Doble, Muiñeira, and Sardana. Among the Spanish dances, Bolero, Fandango, and Jota is a dance performed by a man and a woman, while Sardana is a group dance. Flamenco is a type of solo dance. Zambra, a kind of Flamenco originating from the Andalusia region, is closer to the Arabian belly dance. Zambra is a barefoot dance, unlike other Spanish dances.

Music and dance are two inseparable parts of Spain. Each dance has its own unique musical culture. The most commonly used musical instrument in Spanish dance music is the guitar.

Spanish Folk Dances

How is the Spanish Clothing Culture?

Spanish local clothing is folkloric clothing that reflects Spanish culture. Spanish clothing culture is quite colorful for both women and men.

What is Spain’s Traditional Dress Like?

Spaniards mainly use vibrant colors in their clothes. Especially vivid red and black are among the most used colors in traditional clothes. Spanish traditional clothing for women usually includes a dress and a tasseled shawl. Frilled necklines, folded hems, and balloon sleeves are common in traditional Spanish women’s dresses. Skirts can be narrow or broad depending on the region. Traditional men’s clothing consists of short tight trousers, frilly collared or short embroidered jackets on plain shirts.

What is Spanish Sports Culture Like?

The prominent sports in the Spanish sports culture are football, tennis, basketball, handball, cycling, formula 1, padel, bullfighting, and water sports. Spain is mainly associated with football. There are many high-level leagues and football academies in the country. The best-known La Liga is Spain’s top football league. 

Among the football teams of Spain Among the tennis players of FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla, Valencia FC, and Atletico Madrid, Rafel Nadal, David Ferrer, Àlex Corret, Juan Aguilera, Tommy Robredo, Emilio Sánchez, Fernando Verdasco are famous sports clubs and athletes worldwide. 

Spain’s most-known basketball teams are FC Barcelona Bàsquet, Real Madrid Baloncesto, and Joventut Badalona; the most well-known handball teams are FC Barcelona Handbol, BM Ciudad Real and Portland San Antonio. 

Cycling races and bullfights are traditionally organized sporting events each year.

What is the Place of Sport in Spanish Culture?

Sports events are significant in Spanish culture. Especially football and tennis are two sports branches in which Spain is famous worldwide. The matches of the Spanish league and Spanish football teams are followed with interest not only by the Spaniards but also by many different nations of the world.

In recent years, Spain has achieved worldwide success in the fields of handball, basketball, and water sports. Spain has hosted many international sports events from the past to the present. According to 2018 data, the contribution of sports activities to the national economy was 39.1 million Euros. The contribution of sports activities to the Spanish economy constitutes 3.3% of GDP.

What is Spanish Music Culture Like?

Spanish music has emerged as a blend of many different nationalities and cultures. The foundations of the Spanish music culture are based on the music culture of the Roman, Ancient Greek, and Germanic nations who migrated to the Iberian peninsula.

Jewish music and church music flourished in Spain during the Middle Ages. The hymns sung in the dialects called Mozarabic, which improved in the region with the conquest of the Iberian peninsula by the Muslim Arabs, continued to develop in the churches. The Renaissance and Baroque periods are referred to as the period when vocal and solo performances flourished. In the recent past and today, the music culture of Spain has improved mainly through opera and solo music performances.

The main musical instruments used in Spanish music are the guitar and the piano. In particular, solo guitar compositions and songs composed for flamenco dance, which is very popular worldwide, occupy a large place in Spanish music culture.

What are the Spanish Wedding Customs?

Spanish wedding customs differ from the wedding customs of other European and Christian communities. In Spain, brides wear black wedding dresses on the wedding day and cover their faces with lace veils.

There are no bridesmaids and groomsmen at Spanish weddings. As a Spanish tradition, the groom gives the bride 13 gold coins. It is believed that 13 gold coins will bring abundance. Another Spanish custom is for guests to pay the bride for the Seguidillas Manchegas dance. With the money collected during the dance, the bride and groom set up their own house.

What are the Spanish Folk Dances?

Spanish folk dances are listed below.

  • loteria
  • mar y tierra
  • chiviri cuarta
  • Sardine
  • el repollo
  • veo veo
  • A pares y nones
  • pato pato ganso

What are Spanish National Holidays?

Spanish national holidays are listed below.

  • National holiday, October 12
  • New Year, January 1
  • Christmas Day, December 25
  • Labor Day, May 1
  • Feast of the Virgin Mary, August 15
  • All Saints’ Day, November 1

What are the Spanish Festivals and Carnivals?

The name of the Spanish festival is a cultural and artistic festival that is famous worldwide. Spain hosts millions of tourists annually due to the country’s festivals. Festivals in different areas, which are part of the Spanish entertainment culture, reflect the Spanish understanding of art, culture, and entertainment. Eid-al-Adha Spain tours are organized yearly to participate in Spanish carnivals and festivals.

Spanish festivals and carnivals are listed below.

  • Festes de la Merce
  • Dia de Sant Jordi
  • Almudena
  • Festa Major de Gracia
  • Grec Arts Festival
  • Bullfighting Festival
  • Festival de Sonar
  • Spring Welcome Festival
  • La Paloma
  • Festival de Otono
  • San Sebastian Jazz Festival
  • Festival de Sant Joan
  • Aste Negosia
  • San Sebastian Film Festival
  • Las Fallas
  • San Fermin
  • Pillar
  • Tomato Festival
  • La Tamborrada
  • San Sebastian Theater Festival

Spanish Festivals and Carnivals

What are the Cultural Features That Come to Mind When You Say Spain?

Among the cultural characteristics of Spain, the most well-known are the Spanish fiesta tradition, bullfighting traditions, and flamenco traditions. Especially Flamenco and fiesta are traditional Spanish events that cannot be found in countries other than Spain. Among the characteristics of Spain are the warm-blooded people of the Spanish people, its festivals, and dishes with the features of Mediterranean cuisine.

What is Spain Famous For?

Spain and Spaniards are known worldwide for football, festive entertainment, music, and dance activities. Areas where Spain is number one in the world are football, bullfights, festivals, and Flamenco, which is unique to the Spanish people.

What are the Cultural Similarities Between Spain and America?

The cultural similarities between Spain and America are listed below.

  • The food culture of America and Spain
  • Family attitudes
  • Fashion tendencies

What are the Organizations Responsible for Cultural Promotion in Spain?

The institutions and organizations are responsible for culture and tourism in Spain are listed below.

  • Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism
  • Ministry of Culture and Tourism
  • Tourism Sector Conference
  • Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute
José Anconina

Jose has been a Spanish Tutor at since 2023. She studied Spanish Language Teaching at university and has an M.A. in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. In her free time, she likes book reading.
Jose aims to enrich his students' learning experiences by providing them with knowledge about Spanish culture and traditions.