Culture and Customs of Spain

Culture and Customs of Spain

Culture and Customs of Spain

Culture and Customs of Spain

Synopsis

"Modern Spain is described in this overview of its variety of landscape, people, and culture. Included are chapters on religion, customs, media, cinema, literature, performing arts, and visual arts, as well as a context chapter. Students of Spanish as well as general audiences will be rewarded with engrossing insights into what writer Ernest Hemingway called "the very best country of all"." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Spain is more like a small continent than a country. It has endless variety in landscapes, peoples and cultures, and regions with their own languages, traditions and cuisines. Some Spaniards speak of many “Spains.” Yet the country also has its own kind of unity, a vigorous personality that makes it unlike any other place in the world.

It surprises nearly everyone. Before traveling there, most foreigners imagine it as an exotic Mediterranean country with brilliant sun, good beaches, bullfights and flamenco: what a great poet summed up as “the Spain of brass bands and tambourines.” This romantic stereotype was created a long time ago by travelers from cold, grey cities in northern Europe. Similar travelers continue to descend on Spain every year, still seeking sunny beaches and local color. What they find is often very different. It may even change their lives.

An English writer once confessed that his first sight of the Castilian landscape, the Spanish heartland, made him a different person forever. Many others have had similar experiences. Spain fills your eyes, your ears, your senses of touch, taste and smell. It has a way of getting under your skin and deeper.

Few Western countries have changed as profoundly as Spain in the last quarter-century, perhaps as much as in the previous five hundred years. Since 1975 it has been transformed from a dictatorship to a democracy, from a poor country to the ninth industrial power in the world, from a cultural backwater to a dynamic modern nation, a member of the European Union and NATO. This radical transformation obliges us to speak of the old and the new Spain, the old and the new Spaniards.

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