Category Archive: Spanish Culture

Feb
11

Michener’s Spain: Words that define Spain’s ‘essence’

This is the third in a series of posts on James Michener’s Iberia. You can read the first two posts here and here. This week, I stick with the first chapter and specifically the Spanish words and phrases Michener feels the reader needs to know to understand Spain. There are some key Spanish words and …

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Feb
04

Spain’s ‘China phenomenon’

A Chinese restaurant in Madrid

Spain of late has become a land where immigrants’ dreams go to die, at least since the financial crisis began to unfold. Many migrants from Latin America and North Africa, who had left their homes in search of a better life in Spain, have had to return home in anguish. But one immigrant group is …

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Jan
25

Michener’s Spain: Badajoz

Skyline of Badajoz; in the background stretches the empty rockiness of Extremadura.

Last week, I began what will be a series of posts on James Michener’s Iberia. You can read the first post here. This week I take a look at the first chapter of the book, which focuses on the city of Badajoz and the surrounding region of Extremadura. Of all the colorful, historical, alluring places …

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Jan
18

Michener’s Spain: An Introduction

Chief Spainiac in Charge, James Michener, seen here in 1991 at the age of 84 attending an observance in Hawaii commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

“I have long believed that any man interested in either the mystic or the romantic aspects of life must sooner or later define his attitude concerning Spain.” Thus did James Michener write the unforgettable opening line to Iberia, his classic non-fictional portrait of Spain. It’s quite a statement. Read it a couple of times carefully. …

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Jan
06

My gift to you for el Día de los Reyes Magos

Last year's Three Kings' celebration in Bigastro (photo by Keith Williamson)

My posts have been few and far between of late. That has a lot to do with the bustle of the holiday season and even more to do with my wife giving birth to our fourth little Spaniac, a girl named Isabel. I’ve also been trying to figure out ways to bring you more useful …

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Dec
28

Doing business with Spaniards

My wife recently came across this website, which has detailed cultural profiles of several countries, including Spain. The profiles are geared toward those doing business in these countries, but much of what the website provides could easily apply to any visitor. The website is run by a U.K. company called Kwintenssential, which, according to its …

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Nov
26

‘El Quijote’ project two thirds completed

Your time is running out to be part of Spanish-language history. The joint effort by the Royal Spanish Academy and YouTube to post videos of people reading fragments of Don Quixote has 1,450 entries out of a total of 2,149, according to this site. The purpose of the project is to to promote the classic …

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Nov
24

Spain’s ‘intangible’ treasures revisited

On Monday, I highlighted five new additions by the United Nations to its “world intangible heritage” list from Spain. I included a video of one of the new additions (the striking Mallorcan Cant de la Sibil·la) but it occurred to me that it might be instructive to include videos of some of the other Spanish …

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Nov
22

What the UN deems ‘intangible’ treasures of Spain

Flamenco dancer Ginette Perea at Cabanas Restaurant in Georgetown, Washington DC where she performs on Friday nights (photo by Michael Perez)

The United Nations is making our job easy at Spainiacs by shining a bright light on Spain’s rich cultural heritage. Flamenco, the Catalan castells, the Mallorcan Cant de la Sibil·la, the Mediterranean diet and falconry were among 51 cultural practices from around the world added last week to the “world intangible heritage” list. The list, …

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Oct
28

Spain’s rising literary stars

granta

The British magazine Granta has built a reputation for spotting young literary talent. Its 1983 list of emerging British writers, for example, included the likes of Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie and Graham Swift. Earlier this month, for the first time, the magazine published a list that looks outside the English-speaking world. The “Best of Young …

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