Last year Spain welcomed just over 60 million holidaymakers, families, couples and groups of friends ‘on a mad one.’ Renowned for its long stretches of sandy white beaches, paella dishes, the infamous nightlife and not to mention some of the best football clubs in the world it is no wonder that millions opt for sun, sea and sangria in Spain each year.
Here are 10 facts you may not have known about this Mediterranean country.
Spain was involved in neither the first nor second world war
During both World Wars Spain did not have any reason to join in and fight as they had no alliances and therefore no opposition. They were also fortunate to be outside the main battle areas of France and Belgium, too.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world
6.15 per cent of the world’s population are native Spanish speakers making it the world’s second most spoken language with Mandarin coming top and English following close behind. As well as obviously being mainly spoken in Spain, it is also the official language of Mexico, Chile and Equatorial Guinea.
It’s the only country in Europe which produces bananas
A banana a day keeps the doctor away in Spain as it is the only country in Europe which grows and exports this popular fruit. Hopefully this production won’t decrease any time soon as apparently 9 out of 10 Spanish consumers say they prefer the Spanish banana.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005
Spain was actually one of the first countries in the world to legalise same-sex marriage showing just how long the rest of us took to catch up. During the first year of the law being passed approximately 4500 same-sex couples were married in Spain.
The ‘running of the bulls’ is one of the world’s longest standing traditions
So Spain is one of the first countries to legalise same-sex marriage yet allows hundreds of people to risk their lives running in front of bulls? Maybe Spain isn’t quite as sensible as they make out to be…
The ‘running of the bulls’ or the ‘San FermÍn’ is held annually in the Northern city of Pamplona and although it only lasts for a couple of minutes, 15 people have died taking part since the tradition began in 1925.
Real Madrid is the most valuable football club in the world
This Spanish football club has an estimated worth of around £2 billion just beating Barcelona valued at £1.8 billion and Manchester United at £1.6 billion, according to Forbes. I’m thinking their excessively high worth is not solely down to fans getting to watch Ronaldo in the flesh…
Spain is home to the world’s largest tomato fight – ‘La Tomatina’
‘La Tomatina’ is celebrated every August in the Valencian down of Buñol and yes, it is literally one big tomato fight. It is estimated that around 150,000 tomatoes are used roughly equating to four tons.
It seems like a waste of perfectly good tomatoes to me but the tomatoes used are grown specifically for the fight in Extremadura where they are cheaper and don’t taste as nice so that’s some compensation for the waste I guess.
There is no tooth fairy in Spain
Instead they have a rat. He goes by the name ‘El Ratoncito Pérez.’
Spaniards have a unique daily routine
They’re only an hour in front of the UK but they have a completely different daily routine us. From 2 to 5pm every day many shops and restaurants close so people can have a siesta or catch up with family and friends over a long lunch. Usually people don’t eat dinner till around 10pm and prime TV lasts till around 1am.
The Spanish aren’t renowned for their inventions but they did invent the mop…and Chupa Chups!
The mop was invented in the 1964 by Manuel Jalon Corominas who travelled to the US and saw people washing their floors with a mere cloth. At a similar time was the invention of the Chupa Chups lollipops in 1958 by Enric Bernat.
He came up with the idea of a sweet attached to a stick in order to eliminate the sticky hands dilemma and the brand now sells over four billion lollipops in 150 countries each year. Impressive work, Enric.
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