When thinking about Spain, two of the first things that come to people’s mind is “fiesta and siesta”. These two elements are a very important part of the Spanish culture, however, there are other interesting habits and aspects of the Spanish culture you might want to know before you visit Madrid. We’ve made a short selection of the unique habits of the Spanish people and culture.
Let’s start with the most well-known habit – siesta. Although “siesta” means “nap”, most Spaniards do not actually sleep in the middle of the day in major cities. Instead, during siesta time -from 2pm to 4:30pm approximately- most small shops close and people go home to have lunch and relax with their families. After siesta people go back to work until 9pm.
While in most countries dinner is the largest meal of the day, in Spain it’s actually lunch, which usually starts around 2:30pm. Dinner time is usually around 9pm to 11pm, and in the meantime you can go for tapas so you don’t have to starve to death! In this regard, and as a general rule of thumb, try to avoid restaurants with pictures of food, usually the food is not very good.
3. No tips necessary
Tipping in Spain is optional and not very common. Spaniards generally never tip and if they do it’s an insignificant amount because there’s usually a service charge included in the bill. However, if you do want to tip always use cash instead of credit card, otherwise the money will go directly to the owner.
Spaniards greet each other with two kisses, one on each cheek. If it’s the first time you meet someone from Spain, usually they would start the interaction with two kisses. However, men usually greet other men with a friendly handshake. Keep in mind that in a professional environment the usual greeting is a handshake, despite the gender.
Let’s finish this list with the other most known habit – fiesta. Spaniards are well-known for mastering the art of partying. People usually gather around midnight and go to a friend’s house, a bar or a park to drink. Clubs usually fill up around 2am-3am and people leave at around 6am or even later! Some people even have breakfast in a bar after partying and before going back home.
Keep in mind that this is just a list of the general things Spaniards do and there are many other unique aspects to the culture.
*Illustration: James Rae