Just like all of the countries in the world, they are unique in their own way. Spain is one of the most beautiful places you could ever visit. With crafted architecture, enjoyable people, exquisite food, and its language, you start to appreciate the country itself. When you think about Spain you can’t help but think about bullfighting, flamenco dancing, and fiestas. But there is much more to Spain than meets the eye. Spain has such an amazing cultural base that it brings people from all around the world to visit and see the beauty that this great place brings to our world. Its culture also rich with its beautifully designed churches and religious views they live by. In Spain religion is rich and carries an extensive amount of history that brought wars upon Spain as early as the 1300’s. One of the most well known disputes is the Spanish Civil War that began on July 18, 1936, the war took place when Francisco Franco also referred to as Franco made all of the rules. Franco ruled Spain with an iron fist as a military dictator through 1935 up until his death in 1975. Franco created a secular government deeming only one religion legal which happened to be catholicism, thankfully after Franco’s death Spain became a democracy and people were able to practice which ever religion they desired, but catholicism continued to be the ruling religion. Only twenty-five percent of the Spain population attend mass every sunday or at least once a month, eighteen percent attend a few times a year and during holidays, the other fifty-seven percent of people rarely attend mass at all. Spain is an extremely popular tourist destination and some of the most popular tourist attractions are all of the different cathedrals and churches spread throughout the country. One of the most well known would be the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família which is located in Barcelona and first opened in 1882. Another well known is Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor that opened in 1961. The temple also happens to be located in Barcelona as well. With Barcelona being filled with such breathtaking sights such as these two churches, Barcelona happens to have more agnostic and atheist people compared to people who practice their beliefs in saints. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Spanish Constitution and has been since 1978, Catholicism and many other religions such as Islam, Judaism, Protestantism, and Hinduism, are also practiced within Spain, all of which have places where to conduct their rituals. In Spain there are numerous amounts of religious festivals held for all different types of religions. Spain is basically one big melting pot. Since the socialists victory in 2004 Spain has loosened their human rights laws, such as same sex marriage which is now legal. As well as divorce, which is less restricted. Spain’s government also has intentions on loosening abortion and euthanasia laws. In response, church and religious catholics which represent a small percentage in Spain have voiced their opposition and want to regain influence among the country again. That will most likely never happen. Spain is undoubtedly relaxed about religion and immensely focused on family. In a traditional spanish home young people typically don’t leave home until their late twenties or early thirties. This is mainly due to the lack of job opportunities, but also staying at home this long shows how important family life is to the people of Spain. Although it has become less and less common over the past few decades for extended family to share the same home. Family ties still remain an extremely important aspect of Spanish family life. People are typically reluctant to move somewhere out or across their country of Spain simply because they feel a strong bond to their roots and families. The structure and size of a traditional family in Spain has changed over time. This is a result of people living longer and having less children. Believe it or not but in Spain there are an uncountable amount of monoparental households (single moms/dads, divorced, etc) as well as homosexual parents/guardians. This reflects all of the changes that spanish society is undergoing. Even with all of these changes spanish families still tend to hold on to traditions such as the Quinceanera. The Quinceanera is a well known tradition throughout Spain, Latin America, and within the families of Latin Americans throughout the world. The Quinceanera is a huge party thrown on a girls fifthteenth birthday to represent a rite of passage from girlhood to womanhood in spanish culture. It is nearly impossible to pinpoint what a typical family life is like in Spain exactly because every family is different, but it’s not that much different from a typical family life in America. Each family has own their traditions, their own beliefs, their own hobbies, and their own everyday tasks. Some families are close and some are not, in some families they believe that family comes first, and in some families they don’t think family is important. In Spain family is exceptionally important although that is not the case for every single family in Spain. Before any child leaves home for good, they go through school. In Spain, their education system is similar, but not the same. Unlike the United States where we are broken up into 4 categories: primary, elementary, middle, and high, they have a system. As a child, your parents have the option to enroll you in a pre primary education starting at the age of 1 to 3 as its first cycle and the second cycle is from ages 3 to 6. After that it goes into primary education with ages 6 to 12 as the start of the 10 year compulsory education. Every set of education has a pre-set course of study. Secondary education comes next. This is most commonly known as ESO. This is kind of like our version of high school. You go through four years of school between the ages of 12 to 16. Secondary education is also free in all state schools and in some private schools. This also has a predetermined curriculum determined by the Ministry of Education. Every student who passes this cycle gets a certificate, an equivalent to our high school diplomas. After this you have three options; you can leave school for good, go into a baccalaureate education, or a vocational education. Each of those has a 2 year program and then after that you have the option to continue school in “higher education”. That is like getting your masters or doctorate after graduating college. Like the United States, the arts and music programs are present. The languages that are taught in Spain schools are Catalan, Spanish, English, French, and German. Going along with the differences in education, United States and Spain’s media is different as well. During Franco’s regime, the press, especially newspapers were censored to only what the government wanted people to know. In 1966, a new law was passed to eliminate the censorship of the papers and the press. That law did not allow freedom of the press but did expand what the publishers and writers could talk about. It wasn’t until 1975 after Franco’s passing, that the spanish press was able to expand under a democratic government. Although now you are able to speak on plenty of subjects, sales of newspapers have fallen over the years. This could be due to the rise of technology. Only about 10% of the spanish population actually read a daily paper. Like the U.S, many different newspapers are sold in Spain. Sports newspapers are most common and most read and magazines are less popular. Music on the other hand is widely popular in Spain. Roman rule affected Spain in the music aspect of the country. Music is stemmed from Ancient Greece from when Roman rule was present. During the 17th and 18th century, “Zarzuela” was very popular. It is a spanish opera. This type of opera was mostly centered in the country’s capital of Madrid where it was presented as entertainment for the court. Other types of music that were based off of history were the Flamenco, Jota, and the Cobla. Folk songs are very common as well. In modern Spain, these music styles are still widely popular and are very common. But music isn’t the only thing that is popular in Spain’s culture. Sports are a very big deal when it comes to Spain’s entertainment and danger level. Football (soccer) which is a sport that has been in Spain’s culture for years and is commonly played by most of the percentage of people in Spain. Whether it be professional or not it’s taken very seriously when it comes to their love for football. Especially when it’s time for the FIFA World Cup, where thousands come together and sit down and watch their favorite teams play against each other for the FIFA championship. A game that is aired all over that nation in the homes of any and everyone’s television screen. Soccer is a worldwide sport that is played anywhere and everywhere. Bringing joy and laughter and good times to all. Soccer in particular is a widespread passion amongst the people of spain. It’s known to be the second most popular recreational sport practiced by their population. Even tho soccer is such a popular sport in Spain nothing beats Spain’s traditional sports which have been around for years such as bullfighting. Bullfighting is a traditional but yet dangerous game that has been around for over 200 years is a sport celebrated by thousands, the corrida de toros ( running of the bulls) is a game played in places like the Plaza de Toros which is a bullring in Spain. The objective of bullfighting is to defeat the bull by killing it. There are two types of fighters, the bullfighter is a professional torero and the one who actually kills the bull is called a matador (the most senior bullfighter). For bullfighting there are three stages to the game. Stage one is called Tercio de Varas ( third of lances). This stage is to determine how fierce the bull is and how aggressive it’s behavior is. Then two people enter on horses to stab the bull in the neck. Stage two of bullfighting is called the Tercio de banderillas (third of flags). This is where two other men try to stick sharp sticks in the bulls shoulder which causes the bull to be more aggressive and angry but also weaker too. Then their is the final stage, stage three also known as Tercio de Muerte (third of death). During this stage the mantador enters the ring with a sword and a red cloth used to taunt the bull. He waves it around with a method of passes until he finds a close enough spot to stab the bull right between his shoulder blade straight threw to the heart. Bullfighting is one of the most praised sports in Spain rating 10th in entertainment, it’s become such a commodity over the years that even some tourist come to watch a game. It may be the most difficult thing to watch for some but it’s all apart of Spain’s culture. Spain is known for a whole lot of good but like any other country it has its downsides to it. Crime in particularly in Spain is relatively low compared to other countries. But there are still common crimes that are committed in Spain especially against tourist. Like all crimes punishments are put out based on the severity of the crime in itself. Things like theft and minor offenses are given the minimum penalties which are house arrest from one to six weekends (house arrest is only on weekends for minimal crimes), also things like community service are given for sixteen to ninety six hours, there is even fines of up to five days to two months, which are calculated by the harshness of the crime. Less serious penalties like involuntary manslaughter or driving under the influence can be punished by jail time from six months to a year, or the loss of a driving license up to one or six years, and the convicted may be forbidden from living or visiting a specific place by six months to three years. Serious penalties are put towards crimes like manslaughter and murder. Theses crimes are punishable with being given more than three years jail time, if convicted you may not be allowed to visit a specific place for three years or more. Also you can have a suspension of employment which is three years or more as well. Each punishment really depends on how serious the crime is and how harshly it was committed. Spain’s way of punishment is definitely much more different than the way we do things here. Due to Spain’s low crime rate the punishments aren’t as server as the ones here in the United States. As you can see, Spain and the United States are vastly different. Along with education, family, and sports, each aspect of society are different in their own way. But, this is what makes Spain so great. This is what makes each country an individual. Each and every country has their own traits, traditions, and diversity which makes them all uniquely magnificent. Spain is an incredibly beautiful country filled with vibrant people and has an amazing cultural standpoint. Life in Spain would be an amazing thing to experience with all its cultural traditions and viewpoints. Spain is one of those countries that everybody should visit atleast once in their lifetime. Spain has a very different way of life but at the same time being very similar to ours here in America. With all their freedoms and liberties Spain is an incredible place to be.