Essay On Spanish Culture

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Languages are neither learned nor spoken in a vacuum. These short essays serve as your window into the people, places and customs that make the Hispanic culture so amazingly rich.

Variety!

Here are a few examples:

In Ecuador, Año Viejo is a fiery tradition that symbolically burns up the failures, regrets and anger of the old year in order to usher in the hopes and resolutions of the new one . . .
The páramo is an ecological zone found only in the Andes. It begins at about 11,000 feet, where the temperate forests dwindle, and reaches up to 16,000 feet, where the glaciers begin . . .
Leave your car at home and don’t rent one when you get there. When in Mexico, take the bus. It’s cheap, comfortable and relaxing. In Mexico, buses arrive and leave on time, are frequent, and they go anywhere there is a passable road . . .

All Levels

Beginners gain insight into Spanish culture by reading the English version of the essays. Intermediate level students expand their vocabulary. Even advanced students will find the audio to be quite challenging.

Advanced Listening Practice

The audio has not been slowed down, so don’t be discouraged if you find these to be difficult.

After you have worked with Camino del éxito for a couple of months, come back and try them again, and see how much your listening skills have improved!

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Spanish culture is also closely linked to the famous Flamenco genre in Spanish songs, music, and dance. This passionate dance, along with the music, first originated in Andalusia (south Spain) and was primitively considered to be a gypsy dance. It is a flamboyant dance that is accompanied with the soulful tunes of the guitar and a cante (flamenco song), which is the soul of this dance. In its authentic form, it is one of the best classical cultural contributions that Spain has to offer. Like bullfighting, Flamenco has also been referred to by many as the 'Soul of Spain', and is a large part of the country's traditions and culture. Its songs of lament, bitter romance, and oppressions have a chilling effect on most people. Artists that have had a great impact on this beautiful form of dance include Diego Velasquez, El Greco, Salvador Dali, and even Pablo Picasso.

The Spanish tourism industry has used this beautiful art to its advantage, and you can see Flamenco being performed in many commercial tourist shows, that are greatly advertised as being 'original Flamenco fests', but are in fact a weak imitation of the real form. Real and true Flamenco is said to evoke the qualities of the demon or spirits that possess the performers, containing a sort of ecstatic yet primitive allure that welcomes all listeners. The best chance of experiencing the real, authentic thing is probably at one of the summer festivals that are held yearly in Granada, Cadiz, Malaga, Jerez and Seville, or even during the fiestas and festivals in the small villages that are off the tourist maps.

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