Continuing on our Cultural Journey Series to Spain!
Bienvenidos! Rich with history and traditions, it is understandable why more than 47 million Spaniards choose to make España their home. Occupying 85% of the Iberian Peninsula, its beautiful beaches, mountain ranges and precious architecture compliment unforgettable cuisine and a proud, fun-loving population. Spain is rated as one of the best tourist destinations in Europe, and has nurtured many famous artists, authors and entertainers. It continues to strive toward its national motto of “Plus Ultra,” meaning “Further Beyond.”
Fútbol – Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Spain is well-known for its most popular sport, fútbol! Teams like Fútbol Club Barcelona and rival, Real Madrid, draw crowds of more than 70 thousand fans in a season. Competing at a world-class level, clubs have won the FIFA World Cup (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and have earned both silver and gold Olympic medals. Two of the more popular footballers in Spain are Lionel Messi, playing for F.C. Barcelona, and Cristiano Ronaldo who plays for Real Madrid. Becoming a professional sport in 1926, Spanish fútbol clubs have continued to cultivate their fan base and acquire elite players, making it the most important spectator sport in Spain.
Carnival – Besides religious and New Year’s celebrations, Spain hosts many festivals throughout the year. During the last week of February, Spain hosts Carnival. With slight variations in different cities, these celebrations are about having fun parading brightly colored costumes, dancing and music to entertain thousands of festival-goers.
Flamenco – Combining music, dancing and guitar playing into Flamenco is another beautiful Spanish tradition. It is said that this tradition was created by migrants bringing instruments and songs of their culture. Characterized by different levels of intense emotion and changing themes such as death and despair in one section, love and humor in another. The Flamenco conveys a story to its viewers. Beautifully-colored costumes and harmonious music entrances audiences and evokes the intended emotions.
Treasures of Spain
Playa de las Catedrales – Located in Ribadeo, it is one of Spain’s top beaches. Famous for its rock formations, the “Beach of the Cathedrals” only reveals its beautiful arches at low tide. Visitors are reminded of the ocean’s strength and revel in nature’s creations.
Alcázar de Segovia – Originally built in the 12th century, Alcázar de Segovia was home to Castilian monarchs who each added on to the castle, causing continuous construction through the 16th century. Looking like a ship breaking through the rocky hilltop, Alcázar de Segovia is a top tourist destination in Spain.
Pablo Picasso – Known as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain, in 1881. Helping pioneer the artistic style of cubism, his work steered the direction of today’s art. His depictions of reality transferred through his work. Like many artists, Picasso’s humble beginnings turn to posthumous fortune as some of his paintings are listed in the top ten most expensive, selling for more than a million dollars.
Miguel de Cervantes – Born in the Spanish capital of Madrid, Cervantes was a novelist, playwright and poet. He is most known for his humorous story about a man of La Mancha, Don Quixote. Translated into more than 60 languages, Cervantes wanted to portray real life by using common speech in the strong narrative. Though authoring many other works, Don Quixote earned his literary status among peers.
Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família – Spainish architect Antoni Gaudí took over construction of Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família in 1883 and finished about 15-25 percent of the church before his death in 1926. Architects struggle to adhere to Gaudí’s design, and work complete the church by the scheduled date of 2026, a century after his death. This incredible display of Gothic architecture has become one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.
Culinary Art of Spain
Being a gateway between Europe and Africa, Spain has been fought over throughout history. As a result, different inhabitants have influenced Spanish cuisine. Spain is known for its olives and wine, tying it to Greek and Roman culture. Its Celtic heritage introduced meat and fish pies, and the Moorish culture brings the use of honey, citrus fruits, almonds and various spices such as saffron. Of course each region has its own variation of traditional dishes and pepper in some modern twists as well. One can be certain that a Spanish meal will be rich in taste and history!
For a mix of traditional and modern dishes, click on any photo below to bring a taste of España to your home!
Spain Au Pairs
Are you in need of affordable live-in childcare? Au Pair International is fortunate to work with some amazing Spanish partners that help our host families to introduce the Spanish culture to their children! Together we are currently featuring the following Spanish au pairs who are seeking host families in the U.S.. Upon clicking on their photos you will be taken to their personal profile on our website. If you have any questions or would like more information on becoming a host family please do not hesitate to contact us!