I am sure that when you think about Spaniards, you have some stereotypes in mind. However, do you know how true they really are? Have a look at this article because we are going to dismantle the myths:
This a very typical stereotype, foreigners tend to believe that every single person in Spain takes a very long nap after lunch, and that's why shops close for so long (between 1:30pm-5pm usually). Nothing is further from the truth, since Spaniards usually don't have time to eat and go home during this break. Thus, they don't have time to take a “siesta” unless they live in a very small village. In addition, offices and other workplaces don't have such a long break, so it is almost impossible to have time for that. This habit is, therefore, more typical of the weekends or the holidays.
Everybody dances flamenco
This is not true. Flamenco is really only an illustrative music style and dance from the south of Spain (Andalusia), since each region of the country has its own music and dance. Moreover, not everybody in Andalusia dances flamenco either.
Everybody loves bullfighting
Well, there are people who love this tradition and other people who don't. According to research, only 33% of Spaniards have confirmed they like it, whereas 35.5% are against it and 29% are neither for or against it. Among young people, the situation changes dramatically, since 60% of them are against the sport1. Moreover, there are two regions (Catalonia and the Canaries) where bullfighting is forbidden.
Spain is really hot
Spain has 5 different climates and it is the second most hilly country (after Swittzerland) in Europe. Here you can see the differences of weather between regions:
- The oceanic climate: The north of Spain has an oceanic climate (similar to Ireland or the UK) and their winters are mild and rainy, and summers are also mild and it may rain too.
- Continental-Mediterranean: The centre of Spain (Madrid for example), has a continental Mediterranean climate, that is: very cold winters and very hot and dry summers. Here, it is very common to have snow every winter.
- Mediterranean climate: The east of Spain has a Mediterranean climate with mild and humid winters that make the feeling of cold worse, despite the fact the minimum temperature in winter is around 10 ºC. It has hot, dry summers (but not as hot as in the centre of Spain).
- Subtropical: This weather is typical of the Canary Islands, where winter temperatures are usually around 18 to 22 ºC. Summers are normally between 19 and 28ºC. Nevertheless, their complex orography (many mountains, and a lot of humidity and wind in some regions), make for a microclimate every 20 km. Some areas are really cold, others very windy and others extremely cloudy.
Mountain climate: As we have mentioned, Spain has many mountains which make some areas extremely cold and snowy in winter, but mild in summer. Here there are numerous ski
Paella is the typical food
Well, paella is the typical food of the Valencian region in the east of the country, and not all of Spain. Nonetheless, a great number of citizens from other parts eat paella too. Just remember that each region of Spain has different local gastronomy.
Spanish go partying all the time
This is half true. Spaniards love to go partying, but who doesn't? There are countless celebrations going on everywhere and everyday, but it is impossible to attend all of them, especially since the Spanish population works a lot.
Spanish people are lazy and don't work
This is completely false. In fact, Spanish working hours are the longest of the whole European continent. As you can read in our other blogpost related to the Spanish business hours and daily routines, there are many people who work from 9am to 1:30pm, with a long break between 1:30pm and 5pm in which you don't have time to go home and it is frequent that you continue in your office or shop working. They then work again from 5pm to 8pm. It is true that this phenomenon is changing and not everybody follows this schedule, but it is very common everywhere that people don't stop working at 8pm but continue working late into the evening.
Has this article confirmed what you thought about Spain or has it changed your mind? Now you can say that you know a little more about Spaniards and discuss these ideas with friends of yours who think the opposite. Are you ready?