You arrive in a foreign country, tired and jet lagged, and within a short time you have offended the local people. You wonder what you did wrong, how could you possibly offend them? You know that you did nothing different than what you normally do at home and you wonder if this is the problem. Often, we expect people to do things exactly the way we do things at home. This is why you need to have an introduction to Spanish culture and try to avoid offending the local people.
Some people come back from their vacations and they say the country was full of foreigners. What they fail to understand that we are the foreigners. Our culture is foreign to them and they will expect us to encompass their culture and not expect them to conform to our culture to make us feel more at home.
Many people might find it surprising that in some areas, very few Spaniards actually speak English. This can be quite a challenge; especially if you find learning a new language difficult. Some people who can speak English won’t speak it because they feel that, as a visitor, it is our place to communicate with them. Some of this goes back to the culture of the country. It is wise to try to learn at least some of the language.
Food is a big part of the Spanish way of life. Paella is a dish that is generally associated with Spain, but there are far more dishes which are part of the culture of Spain. The dishes change as you move to different parts of the country.
With the change in life in Spain, some of the cultural ways of life are also changing. Some of the religious customs still remain but many have been replaced. Casual clothing is acceptable, but beachwear should be worn at the beach or pool. If you need to wear a black tie, then you will normally be informed about that. Eating in the evening is a late affair, normally after 9 pm.
Fiestas are also part of the Spanish culture and they are celebrated with wild parties and a time for a holiday. There are many festivals celebrated and you can get a real understanding of the way of life for the Spaniards.
* January sees the San Sebastián festival which is a short event and the whole area dresses up for the occasion.
* February is the time for Carnaval to be held, which is held throughout the country.
* March sees Valencia having a week long celebration called Las Fallas, which involves all night dancing, drinking, fireworks and processions.
* March/April is Semana Santa which is the week before Easter. There are many parades through the streets. Seville is the best place to witness these parades.
* April is the time for Feria de Abril which is a week long party.
* July is the Running of the Bull festival.
* The last Wednesday in August is La Tomatina where the people of the Valencian town of Buñol use the surplus of the tomato harvest by throwing them around in a riotous fashion.
* August is another time for heavy drinking along the North coast where the Semana Grande occurs.
This will give you an introduction to Spanish culture so you can enjoy your vacation to Spain.