50 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Spain (Part II) | Amazing Facts 4U
People Customs & Culture
- Not all Spaniards are native speakers of (Castilian) “Spanish”. There are in fact four official languages in Spain (Castilian (74%), Catalan (17%), Basque (2%) and Galician(7%)). Almost all Spaniards can speak Castilian Spanish though.
- The second most spoken language in the world is Spanish besides English.
- Spanish empire expanded in the world in the 16 th century. Result is that now, more than 400 million people speak Spanish in 22 countries, including 35 million who speak it in the United States. In fact U.S. has more Spanish speakers than Spain.
- Euskera, spoken by the Basque population in northern Spain and southern France, is one of the oldest living languages in the world.
- Traditionally, you have two surnames in Spain, the first surname from your father, and the second from your mother.
- For nearly 500 years Roman Catholicism was the official religion of Spain. It ceased to be the official religion of Spain in 1977. Around 85% of Spanish consider themselves Catholic and 40% go to church regularly. There are around 350,000 Protestants, 400,000 Muslims, and 15,000 Jews.
- Owning one’s home is very important to Spanish people, and indeed some 80% of Spanish households do. Spaniards also have the EU’s highest level of second home ownership. Spain has the third lowest overcrowding rate in the EU after the Netherlands and Cyprus.
- Spain has the second highest number of bars per inhabitants, the only country that has more bars than Spain is Cyprus.
- It’s amazing to find that 40% of Spanish people between 17-24 smoke.
- There’s a town in Spain where 700 people share the surname “Japon” as they are descendants of 17th-century samurais who stayed there after an embassy returned to Japan.
- Generally, the Spanish are not big fans of obeying the laws of traffic. The option of indicating the direction you are about to go in seems widely unknown. Be aware and take precautions while crossing the street.
- The Spaniards have a completely different life routine from other Europeans. They typically have lunch between 1 and 3 pm, dinner around 10 pm, and rarely sleep before the early hours of the night.
- Amazing fact is that Spaniards own more cars than cell phones.
- Spain had one of the fastest growing populations in Europe in the early 1980s. In 2000, Spain had the lowest average birth rate of any country in the world, at just 1.2 children per woman. It is predicted that around 300,000 immigrants need to enter Spain each year to balance the declining number of young people.
- On May 15th all the single women in Madrid visit the chapel called Ermita de San Isidro to prick their fingers with pins and put it in a vessel, in order to find a husband.
- There are fewer marriages in Spain than in any other EU country except Sweden.
- Spain has a very low divorce rate (17%) , and few children are born outside of marriage. Just 5% of children are born to couples that are not married in Spain. In contrast, the number is 50% in Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
- Spain is the number one country in regards to organ donations in the world.
- Spanish-speaking cultures have been known for the development of new dance styles, such as Flamenco , Merengue , Salsa, Mambo and Cha-cha-cha and Rumba etc.
- Spain has more festivals than there are days in the year.
- Amazingly Spaniards rub garlic and tomato on their bread in the morning instead of butter or margarine.
- Running with the bulls is a Spanish festival that has been celebrated for over 300 years. Every year there are people killed while running with the bulls. However, it is still enjoyed by thousands every year as they line the streets.
- La Tomatina, or “The World’s Biggest Food Fight,” is held every year on the last Wednesday of August in the town of Buñol, outside of Valencia. Over 150,000 tomatoes are thrown.
- It is not uncommon to find men in their forties still living with their parents.
- It is common practice to cheek kiss anybody you know, even new acquaintances.
- In business, face-to-face contact is preferred to written or telephone communication.
- Don’t be surprised if you find banks closing after 2 pm.
- There are over 500,000 Gypsies currently living in Spain, with nearly half of them living in the south. Gypsies are thought to have originated in India in the 15th century. Many Gypsies have moved to urban Spanish areas, though a large number still follow the Gypsy tradition of traveling constantly.
- 60 million tourists go to Spain every year, making it the fourth most visited country in the world.
- While Spain relies on imports for most of its oil and for 50% of its coal, the country has uranium deposits, and nuclear power accounted for 30% of the country’s electricity. It also is investing in sustainable forms of energy such as solar and wind. Spain is one of the most advanced countries in Europe in developing wind farms.
- Spain produces over 260 olive varieties. The largest producer of olive oil, Spain accounts for 45% of the world’s total olive oil production. The production is more than twice that of Italy and four times that of Greece.
- Amazingly Spain is the only country in Europe that produces bananas , besides a few small Portuguese islands.
- Spain sells over 3 billion corks per year. Spain and Portugal provide most of the world’s cork. Cork trees flourish in the dry Meseta region in Spain.
- The Madrid-Barcelona is one of the city pairs with most flights per week in the world!
- The Port of Barcelona is Europe’s largest cruise port, with approximately 3.6 million cruisers passing through the port each year.
- Spain has some of the largest gold deposits in Europe. It is also one of the world’s biggest producers of granite and marble.
- The Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have been ranked as the world’s two richest football clubs but are fierce competitors. The rivalry stems from Franco’s dictatorship; Barcelona represented an opposition to Franco while Real Madrid was favored by the regime and Franco.
- Real Madrid is the most popular club in the world with amazing over 228 million supporters.
- FC Barcelona is the biggest privately owned stadium in the world having seating capacity of 100,000 people.
- Spaniards have dominated in motor sports, football, basketball & road bicycle race. Rafael Nadal is a top ranked tennis player.
- Contrary to the popular image abroad, the majority of contemporary Spaniards does not approve of bullfighting. The practice has even been banned in the Canaries (since 1991) and in Catalonia (since 2009). The heartland of bullfighting is essentially Andalusia and Castille (mostly in and around Madrid).
- Amazing fact is that in 2000, Spain’s Paralympic basketball team had to return their gold medals after nearly all of their players were found to have no disability.
- Spanish surgeon and scientist Miguel Servet (1511-1553) was the first European to describe pulmonary circulation.
- The first known stapler was made in the 18th century in the Basque country for the French King Louis XV and every single staple was engraved with the royal emblem.
- Spanish sailor and engineer Isaac Peral (1851-1895) designed the first fully operative military submarine.
- Spain has also given the world the mop and bucket (1956) and the forerunner of the modern cigarette (17th century) and lollipops.
- Emilio Herrera Linares of Spain invented the space suit in 1935, originally designed for high altitude balloon flights.
- The first novel, Tirant lo Blanc (1490), was written by Spanish author Joanot Martorell (1413-1468). Translated as Tirant the White, it played an important role in the development of the Western novel.
- Spanish culture was greatly influenced by modern art from the late 1800’s, with artists like Antoni Gaudí , Pablo Picasso , Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí.
- Spanish double agent Joan Pujol Garcia is perhaps the only person ever to receive an Iron Cross from both the British and the Germans. Code named Garbo, he played an important role in the success of D-Day at the end of WWII.
By Amazing Facts 4U Team