Whether you are buying a home in Spain now to live in permanently or to spend your holidays relaxing, you will inevitably come into contact with Spaniards and their customs. Which customs stand out the most? We’re here to tell you all about them!
It is rather normal for Spaniards to go out to eat. In fact, it is done almost as often as eating at home. A restaurant is simply a place to meet friends and enjoy some food and drink. Spaniards often share their meals, too. No one will give you any strange looks if you order something para compartir: for the table. The dish will be placed right at the centre of the table and everyone will be given a plate and utensils, so that they can grab a bite for themselves. Spaniards generally eat late as well. As a result, restaurants often only open around 20:00 or 21:00.
Spaniards organise their days in a way that begins and ends a bit later than most other countries. Morning coffee starts around 10:00 and runs until lunch, which typically is eaten around 14:00. Until this time of day, it is appropriate to say buenos dias (good morning). After lunch, which is roughly around 16:00, you switch to buenas tardes (good afternoon), and once it gets dark outside, to buenas noches (good evening). The famous siesta is held during lunchtime. Non-Spaniards typically think this is an afternoon nap, but in reality, most Spanish people eat lunch or go for walks. The majority of shops, museums, municipal offices and banks are closed at this time of day, but it is becoming increasingly common for large chain stores and supermarkets to remain open throughout the day.
Every country has its own way of greeting someone. It can be a bow, a handshake or a kiss on the cheek. In Spain, shaking hands is common between men, while women often give two kisses on the cheek, even if it is the first time they are meeting you. The order: left cheek first, then the right. There’s no need to feel uncomfortable if you meet your new neighbour for the first time and she moves in to give you a couple of friendly pecks.
Spaniards take noise in stride. Town festivals and carnivals are organised in the centre of the village or city and often run deep into the night. It’s not uncommon to set off some fireworks, too. Conversations are often held at maximum volume. Everyone can hear them, whether they're at the table or on the street. The reason is that whispering is considered rude. Those who whisper or speak softly must be hiding something. They might be gossiping about someone else in the room! There's no need to worry about that when everyone speaks loudly and clearly. They just might do it all at the same time... and they’ll talk over each other, too.
Lateness is not considered impolite. Spaniards simply don't schedule their lives around the clock. They are relaxed and live by the attitude that what doesn’t go right today, may turn out fine tomorrow. Social contacts and above all, family are most important and these interactions are typically done outdoors. It’s no surprise given the wonderful weather. There are picnic locations all around, where families can have big barbecues. Riverbeds and beaches are also popular locations for this. A couple of plastic chairs on the pavement outside your door act as an extension of your home and going for a stroll is also common. Once dusk falls and it cools off a bit outside, both young and old put on their running shoes and chat away (at full volume) while they jog for a few kilometres. Walking may even be the reason why Spaniards continue to live longer on average. Spain comes in fourth place among countries with the highest average age!
Would you like to know more about living in Spain? Rayos de Sol specialises in the purchase and sale of residences along the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida. We would be happy to answer your questions. Click here for our contact information and here for more information about our services.
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