Religion & Etiquette
The majority of the Spanish population is Catholic, with the remaining following Islam. Catholicism has a significant influence on everyday life as well as society, with most celebrations and festivities being based on important dates of the religion. These days, many Spaniards report having religion as more of a cultural drive in their lives. They live by traditions and customs brought to them by Catholicism, but keep it as modern and open-minded as possible. As a result, you will get to experience religious rituals as cultural spectacles, and be yourself comfortably when in Spain.
Spanish people won’t mind if you are reasonably late to a casual meeting or even a special occasion. What they consider rude, however, is not giving greetings to people in elevators, shops, and restaurants; arguing over a bill when someone wants to pay it for you; or wasting food. Still, Spaniards rarely judge people, if you are not one to mistake casual indifference for judgment. Tolerance and hospitality are some of the core values of Spanish culture—no wonder they have the famous saying “mi casa es su casa”. Always show your gratitude and appreciation, whether you are invited to a local home for dinner or just having a meal at a restaurant. Although not always expected, tipping is a great way to do this.
One of the few behaviors that may attract negative attention in Spain is excessive drunkenness. It may seem like the Spanish are always drinking, which is partially true. It takes people too long to finish a drink because of the generally relaxed way of life. But in fact, Spaniards are rarely too drunk. So, there may come a time when you need to hold your liquor. Also, try to be more careful with your clothing when visiting sacred places and even the most touristic churches.