Archive for the ‘Spanish Traditions’ Category

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Sweet Treats for All Saints’ Day

All Saints’ Day, is celebrated on the night of October 31 and all day November 1. It is a Christian festival that has become more famous in recent years because of its US variant with costumes and music. However, the more classic version of the holiday continues to triumph in many places, Spain being one of them.

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Spanish Halloween

Every year in Spain the controversy is rekindled and we argue about whether Halloween is an “imported” holiday or not and about how “disrespectful and sinister” it is. But if we take a closer look, we can see that there are traditions in Spain that may just rival this “dark festival.” Let’s take a look at a few examples.

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October 12 Throughout History

Hispanic day is celebrated on October 12. It commemorates Christopher Columbus’ arrival to America; but – historical curiosities – it is not the only October 12 important to Spanish speaking countries. Take a look at a few more.
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Leaving a Tip in Spain

You’re in a café in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville… it’s time to go, you ask for the check and the moment you’ve feared has come… How much do you leave for a tip?

You’re not the only one who has asked this question. Many tourists and students who come to our country don’t know how much money they should leave to show their gratitude for good service.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Spain

Coming to a new country is always exciting. But you can’t help feeling disoriented and confused for the first few days, especially when you want to organize some kind of activity or trip. So, we’ve come up with this list of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we get, to help you feel a little more at home.

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What to See in Spain This Fall

If we say “Spain” you probably think sun, beach, waves… but right now, fall is almost here. And does that mean the best time of year in Spain has passed? Of course not!

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Valentine’s Day, Spanish Style

We must admit that for some unknown reason, we Spanish people consider ourselves to be the reference for others in matters related to passion and romance. As such, we won’t let you down as we give you some ideas and advice for this Valentine’s Day and what you can do to blend in and make this day as Spanish as possible. So, take note!
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Carnival in Cadiz: chirigotas and comparsas

If there is anything that differentiates the Carnival in Cádiz form the rest of the Carnival celebrations around the world, it would be that in Cádiz, for an entire week, the celebration is held almost exclusively in the street. Music and good feelings flood the city during this time, but before this street party kicks off a contest is held in the Gran Teatro Falla to determine the best Carnival associations.

These associations, or agrupaciones, are comprised of choruses, comparsas, quartets and chirigotas. These groups dress in costumes and sing about current events, often with biting social commentary. In this contest, they will try to outwit and outdo the other groups with the hope of being the winner in their class.

Chirigota "Atrapados en el tiempo" (Cádiz) fuente: Wikipedia

Chirigota “Atrapados en el tiempo” (Cádiz) fuente: Wikipedia

The choruses (or coros) are the largest associations that include different musical instruments baking up a large vocal section. Even though quartets (or cuartetos) implies four people, these groups are actually formed by three to five people and don’t rely on instruments. Finally, there are the comparsas and chirigotas which have many similarities.

Like the comparsas, chirigotas sing while accompanied by guitars, a bass drum, a caja (a typical Andalusian percussion instrument common in flamenco) and the famous pito or güiro (kazoo), but what is the difference?

Comparsa "El sueño de febrero" (Cádiz). fuente: Wikipedia

Comparsa “El sueño de febrero” (Cádiz). fuente: Wikipedia

Compared to the chirigota, the comparsa is an association that is offers a more critical view of society and current and social events. Their lyrics tend to be more poetic with a more social message and their purpose isn’t necessarily to be funny. The groups are formed by 12 to 15 members and comprised of different voices like octavilla (singing two notes above the tenor), contralto, tenor and segunda (baritone). The structure of a typical comparsa is the following: presentation, pasodobles, cuplés, chorus and medley.

The Chirigotas also offers original and witty lyrics with the purpose of making people laugh. These associations are comprised of between seven and 15 people whose voices range from contralto, tenor and baritone. A typical chirigota has 5 fundamental parts: presentation, pasodobles x2, cuplés x2, chorus (repeated after each cuplé) and medley.

Do you want to know more about Carnival in Spain? Then don’t miss our article in Enforex.com

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Halloween, Spanish Style

Only recently have we started celebrating Halloween in Spain. True: it is not an official holiday, and some people don’t like it because it is “imported” or “disrespectful to the dead;” but it is also very popular and it becomes more so every year. Continue reading…

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La tomatina

It is said that on the last Wednesday of August of 1945, a group of friends caused one of the participants of the Giants and Big-Heads parade to fall down in a village near Valencia. The injured citizen, in a fit of explosive rage, began chasing the gang throwing at them anything he found on his way. He finally arrived to a vegetable peddler and, realizing how effective can this ammunition be, started throwing tomatoes at the kids.
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