• Slovakia!

    Slovakia: Tatra Mountains. Go Now!

    Slovakia
    The Tatra Mountains (pictured) form the backdrop of this rural country, whose culture is rooted in this beautiful landscape. Go Now!

  • Bulgaria!

    Bulgaria: An old Turkish bridge. Go Now!

    Bulgaria
    The isolated mountains of Bulgaria hide cultural gems around every corner, including this old Turkish bridge in the Rhodopi Mountains. Explore Bulgaria!

  • Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Italy
    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Portugal!

    Portugal: Palace of Pena. Go Now!

    Portugal
    Although next to the seas and made famous by trade, Portugal boasts dynamic landscapes and architecture, including the Palace of Pena (pictured) near the town of Sintra. Go to Portugal!

  • Armenia!

    Armenia: Noravank Monastery. Go Now!

    Armenia
    With a unique language, foods, architecture, and identity, Armenia is a fascinating country and culture unlike no other in the world. Begin Your Journey!

  • Finland!

    Finland: Finnish Sauna. Go Now!

    Finland
    Unlike its neighbors, the Finns are unique ethnically & linguistically, but are wholly European in many other ways. Begin Your Journey!

Culture & Identity of Spain

Introduction

Spanish Culture - Street market
Street market

Life in Spain is relaxed, but work seems to put a kink in that. Despite this necessity, the Spanish tend to only work to live as family, friends, and enjoyment of life take precedence over work.

For most people in Spain, the way of life also revolves around where they live as nearly 80% of the people are urbanized and the pulse of the city dictates the pace of life. Jobs also contribute to the culture, but today nearly a quarter of the population is unemployed as the economy struggles.

For the people that do work, the work day generally begins at about 9:00 am and runs until about 2:00 pm, at which time there is usually a long lunch break until work continues from about 4:30 to about 7:30 pm. In some cities this long lunch break is slowly disappearing as the work day is also shortened and ends closer to 5:00 or 6:00 pm. Likewise, schools have regular schedules as most run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with a lunch break from about noon to about 3:00 pm.

Most schools have summer vacation from about mid-June to early September, during which time many offices have shortened offices and most people take vacations. During these holidays, and during any free time for the Spanish, it seems to be a time to relax. Everyone spends this free time in a different way, but in Spain family and friends are important and most free time is spent socializing, whether that's in the home or out in a city, on a ski hill, or laying on a beach.

Identity

Spaniards have no single way to identify. For much of history, Spain was divided into multiple regions and even today many Spaniards identify first with their local region and only secondly on the national level, claiming to be Spanish. This primary means of identifying with one's region is typically based on the people's ethnic make-up, native language/dialect, or on independence movements from their local region. However, people from large cities often have left their regional ties behind and consider themselves, above all else, as being a member of that city or perhaps will first identity with the country and claim to be Spanish. For these people, and even for the people that identify with Spain on a secondary level, the Spanish identity is generally defined first as being Catholic and second by the Spanish lifestyle. In some regions, such as Catalan, Galicia, or Valencia, the local pride is extremely strong and it's rare to find a local who doesn't first identify with his or her region above all else. Additionally, many ethnic minorities who are not related to the Spanish also tend to identify with their ethnicity, such as the Roma.

This page was last updated: May, 2014