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SPAIN - Cultural Experience Box


Hola, Buen Dia (“Hi, Good Day”),

Spain, a democracy that was organized in the form of a parliamentary government under a constitutional monarchy (presently, King Felipe VI). It is a developed country with the world’s fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. In the early modern period, Spain became one of history’s first global colonial empires, leaving a vast cultural and linguistic legacy that includes over 500 million Spanish speakers, making Spanish the world’s second most spoken first language, after Chinese and before English. To speak about Spain and not mention Flamenco doesn’t seem right. It is a dance form that originated in the regions of West Andalusia, which includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), jaleo (vocalizations), palmas (handclapping) and pitos (finger snapping). An interesting fact is, contrary to popular belief that Spanish music and the flamenco are synonymous to each other; the flamenco is not widespread outside of West Andalusia.


Culturally, Spain is a Western country. Almost every aspect of Spanish life is permeated by its Roman heritage, making Spain one of the major Latin countries of Europe. Spanish culture is marked by strong historic ties to Catholicism, which played a pivotal role in the country's formation and subsequent identity. Spanish art, architecture, cuisine, and music has been shaped by successive waves of foreign invaders, as well as by the country's Mediterranean climate and geography. The centuries-long colonial era globalized Spanish language and culture, with Spain also absorbing the cultural and commercial products of its diverse empire.


Fun Fact #1: Did you also know that the most popular traditional musical instrument in the world - the guitar,
originated in Spain?


Fun Fact #2: The Puerta del Sol (“Gate of the Sun”) plaza in Madrid is the physical center of the country.


Fun Fact #3:  Don Quixote, the famous book written by Spanish author Miguel Cervantes in 1605, was voted the “most meaningful book of all time” in 2002. Don Quixote tells the tale of the eponymous ‘knight’ and his squire, Sancho Panza. Both Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are national heroes in Spain. Their statues can be found everywhere. The one at Plaza de Espana in Madrid is especially popular among tourists.

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