Spanish culture is an incredible blend of Celtic, Iberian, Roman and Catholic influences due to the different occupations of the time. The most predominant influence has to be the Roman one which had a profound effect on Spanish society. From the 15th century, Spain really became its own country and began evolving its own unique culture and style and in the following centuries it was the Spanish culture that was to be embraced worldwide as the Spaniards colonised differing areas of the world. Culture and religion of the country today is mostly Roman Catholic.
Spanish culture can be highly defined by the languages of the nation. There are actually three differing major languages used, with Castilian being the official primary Spanish language as we know it today. Following that there is the Catalan language that is spoken mostly in the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Valencia. Then there is Galician that is spoken mostly in the northern reaches of Spain. There are a huge variety of other lesser used languages and dialects within the country such as Canarian Spanish, Asturian, Aragonese and Murcian Spanish, but these tend to be used less frequently. With each of these languages and areas they belong to there have been development of their own unique culture and customs.
When referring to the culture of Spain, many people immediately think of the art and sculptures that the country is famous for. The diversity of influences during differing eras of Spain greatly affected the art of the time and it has been classified into what are known as Art Periods. Famed and well-known art periods of Spain are the Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque period, Rococo and Impressionism. Artists that will forever be recognised as powerful influences of Spanish culture are Luis De Morales, El Greco, Zurbaran, Velazquez, Goya, Picasso and Dali.
Looking to the cuisine of the country it too reflects the differing influences and cultural merging of many different eras. Different regions of Spain are known for the different famous dishes served. The following is a brief example of some of the different meals that are traditionally served as part of the areas culture:
Andalucia – typically fried fish and seafood dishes with sherry wine.
Catalonia – rice dishes, cooked and cured sausages, very rich creamy cuisine.
Madrid – chickpea stew, strawberry dishes.
Valencia – the home of the famous Paella.
The food of each region reflects a lot of the previous occupations such as Roman or Muslim.
Different ways of expressing the Spanish culture can be seen in differing classical dances.
For example, the Flamenco is a dance that originated in Andalucia but is now really embraced by the whole country. Some lesser known dances that are deeply part of the Spanish culture are the Sardana from Catalonia, the Muneira from the Galicia and Asturia areas, the Sardana, the Bolero and the Fandango.
It is quite normal for Spanish children to be taught these classical dances to some degree at school, but usually they are passed down through families and upheld through generations.