Spain is located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. With an area of 195,364 square miles and a population of 46 million, Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe. Because of its location, Spain has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 400 million Spanish speakers today. Spain is a democracy organized in the form of a parliamentary government under a constitutional monarchy.
The people of Moorish Spain often made casseroles of rice, fish and spices for family gatherings and religious feasts, thus establishing the custom of eating rice in Spain. This led to rice becoming a staple by the 15th century when Spanish Catholics expelled the Muslims. Afterwards, it became customary for cooks to combine rice with vegetables, beans and dry cod, providing an acceptable meal for Lent.
Spanish teenagers are similar to their European counterparts. Many students choose to participate in sports after school. Football, music venues, the cinema, local student restaurants, cafes and local discos are the main source of amusement for young people in Spain. Music and dancing in the evening are particularly popular. Some like to go to discos, which have special hours during which teenagers under the age of 18 can enter.
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- The tooth fairy is not recognized in Spain and, instead, they have a tooth mouse named "Ratoncito Perez."
- Accepting a second serving is one of the best ways to show appreciation to the cook in Spain.
- Traditionally, Spaniards have a 2-3 hour break from work or school in order to enjoy the midday meal (la comida) and take a nap (siesta), thus the entire country "closes up shop" from about 2:00PM to 5:00PM!
- Tapas is a way of eating which means "cover," and was traditionally a slice of cheese or ham placed over a drink.